By: Gustavo Flores
America, “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” The beauty of being an American is that this is not a hallmark strictly reserved for natives , it never has and it never will be. Americans cannot be categorized; we are a people who come from all walks of life. It is our understanding and acceptance of diversity that better aids our nation. When I think about America, I think of millions of people who are different, yet connected by a greater good; the desire to prosper both individually and collectively.
My name is Gustavo Flores, and I am the son of two farm workers and immigrants. My story is that of an immigrant who went from working in the fields, to working on my Bachelor’s Degree, and then traveling the world.
I will never forget the summer days I spent working in the fields so that I could help my family make ends meet. Although the work was difficult and the pay was meager, My parents had always instilled upon me a work ethic and a desire to experience the American dream in pursuing a higher education. My past does not dictate my future, yet it continues to serve as my motivation and a main source of my resilience and my identity. In exploring my identity, I have come to realize that:
I am an American. Recognizing the privilege I host in holding both liberty and opportunity to overcome social, political and economic adversities. I take pride in acknowledging all those who have helped me along my journey, as I recognize that I wouldn’t be where I am today on my own.
I am a Dreamer. Walking through the marble floor corridors of Congress as a Congressional Intern, I have been afforded the opportunity to become exposed to a world much different than my own. Although I’ve considered the duality of my identity time and time again, I never considered myself a Traveler, until more recently.
Selected as a 2017 NetWings Corp. Youth Delegate, In March, 2017 I traveled to Cologne, Germany. Although I had always considered myself an American, traveling outside of the US broadened my understanding of what it means to be a global citizen, as well as strengthened my pride and love that I call home. In interacting with students from throughout the world, I came to the realization that our world is a better place when we work in unison, and that diversity can instill values of success and collaboration. When we work in community we can balance out inequalities and further intersect works relating to the economy, society, and politics, regardless of specific identities.
In participating in the NetWings Corp. Delegation, I had the opportunity to attend the 2017 World Business Dialogue. In doing so, I was able to participate in discussions with students from over 30 countries. One of our conversations focused primarily on finding innovative solutions on the use of rhetoric and its implications relating to the media. The invaluable exchange of ideas and perspectives that we received from students serves as a testimony to the power of exchange and collaboration.
To this end, I am proud to call myself an American because my experience as an American has encouraged me to become an open learner of others’ history, culture, ideas, and social issues. After all the Unites States is a country of immigrants whose prosperity is a result of all the contributions made by people of different backgrounds. My stay in Cologne, Germany as a NetWings Corp. Delegate reinforced the significance of why this is an important ideology. Societies and individuals flourish when given an opportunity to collaborate, to share their history. This is not only evident in my recent travels abroad, but in my own story as a proud Mexican-American. To me there is nothing more admirable than having the liberty to overcome such hardships all while being able to celebrate our individuality. For as the American motto suggests, “E Pluribus Unum,” out of many, one.