Young New York City Immigrants, Parents Greet Obama Presidency Warmly
등록 일자: January 21
Demographers say that by 2042, more than half of Americans will have non-white
ancestry, primarily Latino, Asian or African. The inauguration of Barack Obama, the
son of a black Kenyan father and a white American mother, will be the most
dramatic sign yet of the country's growing cultural and ethnic diversity. Nowhere is
that truer than in New York, a city of immigrants and their children.
A Class Act
"Class, I want you to pretend for a moment that I am Mark, or Johannes..." Julie
Mann's class at Newcomers High School is acting out scenes from the
autobiography of a boy growing up under apartheid in South Africa. The Queens,
New York public high school is one of 12 in the city designed to serve new
immigrants. The students here are from China, Nepal, Bangladesh, Colombia,
Yemen, Egypt, and Haiti and other countries. Many say they are hopeful and happy
about Barack Obama's election, both for the sake of their new country, and for what
it means for their own lives.
"I won't say strangest, but it is one of the most historical elections in America, really
ground-breaking," says a young man from Bangladesh. "I think if an African-
American [can] be the president, that is history change," a Chinese classmate
agrees. "As a black man, I can have more chance, and I am dedicated to being
someone, something important in the United States," says a Haitian student. "I was
thinking that maybe [now] an Asian-American can be president," a Bangladeshi girl
Building a dignified life in America
A few blocks away from the high school, Colombian-born Nora Chaves works
at "Make the Road," a social justice organization that helps Latino immigrants. She
has two children, and says that's why Obama's election was so important to her. "I
decided to stay in the United States because he won," Chaves says. "I was really
doubtful about what was going to happen. Because my children were born here,
they are U.S. citizens, but they are Latinos." Now, Chaves says, she feels very
differently: "[I think now] that immigrants have a chance to really build America and
to build dignifying lives in this country."
Obama presidency, renewed hope
"Quite frankly, we are an immigrant country, " says Mohammad Razvi. "I mean, other
than the native Indians, everyone is an immigrant here." Mr. Razvi runs an
organization in nearby
Brooklyn that serves South Asian immigrants. Born in Pakistan, he is raising his
own children in the U.S. "I have five kids, and I've explained to them, 'Look, how
great of a change. Now actually America is what it is supposed to be.' All my
children were born here in the United States, and it's a great feeling that one day
perhaps they can also be elected as president."
Obama, many firsts
Few of the students in Julie Mann's class at Newcomers High School are
naturalized citizens yet, but they say Obama's election speaks to them
equally: "Because he take the money from the war and put it in education," says a
Chinese girl. A Yemeni boy says, "This election was about all the people, not just
whites or African-Americans, but immigrants, as well." "And like when he said that
we are not a red state, blue state, we are United States - that makes me feel very
encouraged about him," the girl from Bangladesh says. "And I feel like he's the one
who can unite all of us."
As president, Barack Obama will be many firsts: the first biracial president, the first
with a foreign-born parent from outside the British Isles or Canada, the first with
African and Muslim heritage. And for many immigrants, he will also be the first U.S.
president with a story not unlike their own.