Chicago welcomed 175 new Americans this week as they swore allegiance to the United States at Wrigley Field. The oath forces these new citizens to give up all loyalty to their home country, a price they willingly pay to be part of the American fold.
But for many Latinos, born in the United States and immigrants, feelings of pride and patriotism for the United States are complicated by history, racial injustice and cultural erasure, which begs the question. what it really means to be an American patriot.
CPS educator and Afro-Latin blogger AnyinÃ© GalvÃ¡n RodrÃguez says her personal immigration story means she feels patriotic in more than one place.
âPatriotism is having respect and appreciation for the land you call home. And at home, they are different spaces – the Dominican Republic because I was born there. Puerto Rico, I grew up there until I was nine, and then I came to Chicago, âsaid GalvÃ¡n RodrÃguez. “So I really respect and appreciate all of these different countries for the beauty they have in their history as well as for the flaws they have in their history.”
US Army veteran and American Legion Post 939 Commander Marcos Torres, was born in Chicago. America’s promise of opportunity to its citizens is what he values ââmost.
âMy father came from Puerto Rico in 1966 without much education, but he was able to work for CTA for 33 years. And thanks to that, he was able to give me, my older brother, my mother, an incredible life. It really wouldn’t have been possible for him if he had stayed on the island because those opportunities just weren’t there. So in America I love to celebrate the opportunity and the fact that you can dream. “
Torres’ sense of patriotism includes an element of service.
“Patriotism means for me not only to have love for your country but also the desire to fight and defend, whether at the civic or national level, whether serving in the army … If you are a patriot , you are not only love your country, but you want to serve your country and uphold your country’s values, âTorres said.
Moises Hernandez is an immigration lawyer and vice-chairman of the board of directors of Latinos Progresando. In his work, Hernandez says he has met people all over the world who want to become Americans – and he says they are among the most fervent believers in American ideals.
âI think a lot of people I have met distinguish between policies or rhetoric that may be anti-immigrant or negative from the core ideals of equal opportunity for all, freedom for all, all of us. equal before the law. So I think that in this way the immigrants are rejuvenating and calling on this country to live up to these fundamental ideals. And I think people, or smart people, distinguish bad behavior from ideals, âHernandez said. âSo I think a lot of people I talk to don’t see this as a contradiction. They love this country, they are grateful to this country and they can distinguish that from some negative noises, which have been very loud in recent years.
GalvÃ¡n RodrÃguez says that in the classroom, trying to teach patriotism shouldn’t be the goal. She believes children learn to be proud of their country when an honest and critical assessment of its past is presented.
âPatriotism isâ¦ kind of like a relationship in the sense that you love and care, but you also have to appreciate the flaws in that relationship so that you can make it evolve,â said GalvÃ¡n RodrÃguez. âAnd in the classroom, there are many ways we could definitely make their students appreciate the country that we have and the opportunities it offers to those who live here, but also learn from the mistakes that we have. committed as a country. in the pastâ¦ because the whole purpose of a community is to move the community forward, right? To move our society forward, to move this country forward. “
Hernandez says we only have to look at current events to prove that, even in a time when Americans are re-examining their own political beliefs, American ideals remain a beacon.
âI think especially at this time when we see democracies under attack around the world, that a country exists on the basis of the idea that power comes from the people ruled,â Hernandez said. âIt is not from a king, nor from a divine right, that the authority, the government comes from the people who are governed and that all these people are equal before the law. I think these principles are eternalâ¦ and I think the world expects us to keep them proven and admires this ability to be self-critical of these values.