Is The American Dream Still Within Reach? A Group Of U.S. Hispanics Speaks Honestly About It

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Adeline Ortiz, Financial Services Professional, College instructor, New York, NY
I see myself as an upper-middle-class working mother. I work in life insurance, wealth management, financial planning. Too many Latinos don’t realize we have these options.
When I was in high school I lived in a South Bronx tenement but every other week I went to work in plush accomodations surrounded by wealthy brilliant people at the heart of corporate America. I credit this experience as transforming me. I started to work on my vocabulary, writing skills. People in my community would say ‘why do you speak as a white person?’
That is what has defined me –  I never saw myself as less than anyone else.  I said the only difference between them and me is time.  That is why I love teaching so much. I’m in a position to make an impact.  As far as my children, (12 and 13), they are now understanding that they are having a more privileged life than I had – they also see what they don’t have, and what attainable goals they can set for themselves that I cannot provide.

Photo credit: John O’boyle / for NBC News

 

Aquiles Sanchez, Restaurant food runner,  North Bergen, NJ
I would say we are a lower-income family.  I started out as a dishwasher at the restaurant where I work, then I became interested in what was happening in the dining area. I asked and got the opportunity to become a busboy.  Then a position opened up  to be a food runner, and I was promoted.   I am very grateful the managers have given me an opportunity to keep advancing.  I am trying to become a waiter one day.
I live with my parents and younger sisters.  My father works for a cleaning services company.
This is a country of opportunity, it’s for people who want to keep fighting to get ahead. I would like to get married and have a family one day. I think that if one sets one’s mind to it one can reach the middle class with a lot of hard work
Peter Lockley / for NBC News

 

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Rob Alvarado, Chief Executive Officer, Denver CO
I would consider myself upper income.  It’s a balance between showing what is possible and what you can be proud of, but I kind of grew up with parents and grandparents where you learn to keep certain things to yourself and not talk too much about what you have.
I would say that absolutely there are a lot of challenges that exist today;  I know when my family started their business venture, they would say  it was as challenging as it is today.  Certainly economic barriers exist as well as the issue of equal access to the education system.  It is critical for those of us who have the means to stay active and stay involved and create opportunities.
One of the things I was raised with is you always give back. For me it’s been a passion of mine to get involved in early childhood education.  Giving kids those opportunities, mentorship and support that they don’t have privilege or access to is crucial for the next generation to be successful.  If they can picture what is capable with hard work and opportunity, I do think it’s incumbent on our community to have role models.

Photo credit: Peter Lockley / for NBC News

 
Rob Alvarado, Chief Executive Officer, Denver CO
I would consider myself upper income.  It’s a balance between showing what is possible and what you can be proud of, but I kind of grew up with parents and grandparents where you learn to keep certain things to yourself and not talk too much about what you have.
I would say that absolutely there are a lot of challenges that exist today;  I know when my family started their business venture, they would say  it was as challenging as it is today.  Certainly economic barriers exist as well as the issue of equal access to the education system.  It is critical for those of us who have the means to stay active and stay involved and create opportunities.
One of the things I was raised with is you always give back. For me it’s been a passion of mine to get involved in early childhood education.  Giving kids those opportunities, mentorship and support that they don’t have privilege or access to is crucial for the next generation to be successful.  If they can picture what is capable with hard work and opportunity, I do think it’s incumbent on our community to have role models.
To read full article: http://www.nbcnews.com/feature/in-plain-sight/latinos-open-about-income-class-social-mobility-n307921


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