Striving for More by Bryan Ramirez

     I am a 27-year-old Hispanic male born in a small town in Los Angeles County called San Pedro. The year was 1990. I went to pre-school all the way to the fifth grade at my elementary school, Barton Hill. I have always been a studious person who enjoys school and being in school. Graduating high school was a big deal for me and my family because I was the first in my family to receive recognition for my academics and most of all I was the first in my family to get accepted to a university. Simply put it, school makes me happy.

I’ve been encouraged to continue trying and to graduate from college despite my age. I have been in college since 2009, starting my freshman year at San Francisco State University. I want to transition into the profession of journalism.

I am family oriented, and I stay in touch with my parents daily or as much as I can. Family is important to me because it taught me unity and to become self -dependent. I am self- dependent who makes a good income to pay for my own tuition and rent in a city that’s too expensive and progressive. I’ve lived in this city and made it happen with my own means since 2009 and I’m proud of it.

My racial Identity is Hispanic, of Mexican descent. My cultural identity: I belong to the group of adult, 24 to 27-year-old musicians and nightclub industry people. I DJ for a living. Beyond my five closest college friends, the people I spend the most time with are bartenders, club manages, promoters and staff of these establishments. They are college graduates and some take part in higher education studies. We all share the goal of wanting better, and we don’t see the nightclub industry as permanent because we strive for more and help each other out.

I also belong to a university community where I’m surrounded by students who are 5 plus years younger than me. I am part of the millennial generation or so that’s where I’m categorized. My community identity has changed after moving to San Francisco. In Southern California, my parents are traditional and my two other siblings and I were raised in a Catholic family, eating together and doing everything together. We always had meet ups with all of our uncles and aunties and cousins. The holidays were special and most bonding was done during that time. We are a family full of unity.

My mom’s dad, Valentin was a painter in their town and he was the guy who everyone called to paint the homes of people. He was a nice man, charismatic and jolly. He never really took money—he more likely asked for necessities like gas, clean drinkable water, grains, meat and anything relating to survival. Since he didn’t accept pay, he could pretty much eat anywhere for free and he was overall respected by the community.

My mom’s mother, Jesusita, was highly involved with all the churches in their town. The town consist of about a couple of thousand people and they had over 15 churches. She was a traditional stay-at-home mother who took care of my mom and her other kids—a family of 8 sisters and 6 brothers.

My dad’s parents were farmers and landowners who rented out homes to families and also provided them with work as laborers. My grandpa Jesus passed away a year ago and my grandma Pina passed away 4 years ago. They were also religious and enjoyed going to church every morning and on some occasions in the afternoon. Grandpa Jesse (his nickname) was sarcastic and a jokester. He was rude, but in a funny way. My grandma was quiet and kept to herself mostly. My grandpa was the cook in the family. He slaughtered the animals and took care of the meals every single day. The family loved to eat, so my dad never hesitates when it comes to mealtime. It makes him happy, it reminds him of home, and so he embraces us with food.

My dad was born in a small town, Shauyayo, Michiocan, a town that takes the Catholic religion very seriously. When I visited my grandparents’ home, they would wake us up at 5 in the morning every day to be at church by 6 a.m. to pray before the start of Mass. My mother was born in the capital of Guadalajara, Mexico. She grew up there for a good portion of her youth.

My father came to the states by crossing the border when he was 17. He carried a suitcase, a backpack full of water and grains while walking for miles until he crossed the Mexican border at San Diego.

If my siblings and I didn’t eat our meals, drink water and enjoy food, my father would recount that trek through the desert and remember how he wished he had unlimited water and food to enjoy one last time. He was convinced he was going to die. But he persevered and pulled through. This is something I always think about and use to find strength.

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