Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa worked in his father’s automobile repair shop in Mexico and picked cotton in the fields. He was proud of what he could do with his hands, and no job was meaningless. He dreamed of infinite possibilities while watching Star Trek on an old black and white television.
His family became migrant workers in California where he started a business cleaning workers’ rooms.
Using techniques, he had learned in self-defense training, he jumped the fence to the United States in 1987. He pulled weeds, picked crops, drove tractor, shoveled sulfur at the port, and worked as a welder at a railroad company. He lived by the motto that “he who masters the mind masters everything”, and every setback motivated him. He persevered through adversity, received a college scholarship, and eventually attended Harvard Medical School where he gave his class commencement speech in 1999. He was head of neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins and today is Chair of Neurological Surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida.
A passionate activist, Gabriela Alvarez Castaneda, left her family and her ballet teaching career in Guatemala and immigrated to New York in 2010 with a young man who had proposed to her. To survive after the relationship ended, she worked as many as nine jobs at once. After being a successful businesswoman in Guatemala, she started out at $10 an hour working in theaters, restaurants and taking care of children in New York.
These were tough times for Gabriela, but she pushed through her disappointment and discouragement, and eventually launched her business, Bula Arts and Culture, where she teaches ballet, yoga, visual arts, music and provides artistic and holistic daycare for children. She inspires and empowers women through her community activism and her business provides tools for safety and legal advice to help immigrants understand their rights.
She encourages everyone to be proud of their own heritage and to never give up, and she believes her success in New York is born from the difficulties she endured.
Shahid Khan, owner of the NFL football team, the Jacksonville Jaguars, immigrated to the United States from Pakistan when he was 16 years old in 1967. His American Dream started out as a lowly dishwasher at $1.20 an hour, which inspired him as an opportunity as he realized he could be the master of his own fate.
He studied engineering at the University of Illinois. While in college, he started working at Flex-N-Gate manufacturing auto parts and then started his own company, Bumper Works, manufacturing single piece car bumpers. He quickly ran into legal troubles when he was accused of stealing trade secrets from Flex-N-Gate. Lacking financial resources for a good lawyer, he studied law at night and eventually won the battle and bought the company.
He became interested in American football in college, which seeded a dream in his mind to own a football team. He spent ten years studying NFL franchises and networking in the league and bought the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2012.
These were only some of the stories out of a million such anecdotes that can inspire a whole generation and showcase how far we have come. To assist immigrants around the world, there are various services now available that are making things easier and providing more clarity and transparency. When moving to a new country, as an immigrant make sure you get birth certificate translation uscis and translations of other important documents to be on a safer side so you can proceed to achieve your dreams with ease and with lesser hurdles.