True Courage


Posted on June 20, 2011 by felipe | Post a comment

This Father’s Day I will be celebrating my mother. I grew up under the wings of a single mother that was willing to sacrifice so much to see me prosper and succeed in life. Everyday I watched her rising at 4 AM and leaving us behind so she could start her day cleaning someone’s house and come back around 11 PM from her third job that day. She never gave up on us even when our socio-economic status would certainly drive us to be poor for the rest of our lives. Instead she taught me to dream and hold my head high. She would tell me over and over again that when I was a baby she wouldn’t sleep so rats wouldn’t try to hurt me at night because in our small apartment in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil progress hadn’t arrived. This was her speech whenever I felt I wanted to give up as a way to depict how far she would go for me to stay strong and healthy. The sacrifices she made were assumable and the impact she has on my sense of responsibility for others guides my daily actions.

This last week, the Trail of DREAMs received the Freedom from Fear Award from the Four Freedom funds alongside 14 other amazing people that stood up for immigrant rights. As I was watching our peers take up their place on stage and make their speeches I kept feeling that the greatest act of courage in my life was actually done by my mother. It was because of her that I was sitting on that chair listening to an amazing group of people tell us about their deeds and in my heart I wanted to tell the world that my mother is my heroine and inspiration.

I wanted dedicate my ¼ of this honor [since the entire Trail of DREAMs received this award and I'm 1 out of a team of 4] to every single mother in this world who fights for the survival of her children.  They are demonized by right wing people and called “welfare mothers” in the US or live under extreme poverty in many places around the globe but if it weren’t for their determination many of the people in the social justice movement would not be at the forefront of their issues. My mother stayed in Brazil and sent me to live in a strange country when eminent poverty was going to hurt me and she let me go so I could find freedom in the USA. I am fighting for her dream and the dream of millions of other mothers that want to see their children overcome great barriers and become their full self. She is the reason I am here and her voice will continue to live on through the work I do.


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