What It Really Looks Like When You Believe in the American Dream

What It Really Looks Like When You Believe in the American Dream
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This summer I worked part-time as an event manager at the Des Moines Social Club. I have worked over a dozen events, from graduation parties, to concerts, to bridal showers. By far the easiest event I managed was a fundraiser for the Warren A. Morrow Memorial Scholarship. A music festival that featured the Grammy-award winning band La Santa Cecilia as well as local bands, the event helped fund scholarships for local Hispanic students.

All the guests and volunteers were respectful and pleasant. I talked to some volunteers working with me, who were either first-generation Americans or immigrants who had been in Des Moines for at least 10 years. One man and I discussed our shared passion for scuba diving and he told me how both of his children attended Iowa colleges. Another brought me a burrito because he saw that I had been working for seven hours without a break.

Warren Morrow was born in Mexico City to a Mexican mother and American father, according to a profile in The Des Moines Register. At a young age Morrow moved to Arizona with his parents and watched his mother, a well-educated woman, struggle to assimilate into American culture. While at Grinnell College, he started his own non-profit, the Latino Leadership Project, to help Hispanics receive college scholarships. Through his work he discovered the reason so many Latinos struggled to receive a higher education. Many of them skipped college to work and help their families gain financially stability. In 2006, Morrow established Coopera Consulting, helping credit unions reach Hispanics, and giving more families access to financial resources. He also led urban development and job growth in the East Grand neighborhood of Des Moines.

In 2012, Morrow died of a heart attack at age 34, leaving behind his wife and seven-year-old daughter. Every volunteer working the music festival was from an immigrant family who had been helped by Morrow in some way.

After work that night, my family and I went to get ice cream. At a red light, we pulled up next to a pickup truck flying three American Flags and a Trump flag. I inadvertently made eye contact with the young man driving the truck. He stared at me with an incredible amount of hate in his eyes. To avoid any confrontation, I quickly looked away; however, he continued staring at my car. A sick feeling began in my stomach and rose up into my throat. I swallowed hard and my eyes watered a bit.

The light changed and he sped off and I never saw him again. Maybe he had a bad day, maybe he had just fought with a loved one, maybe he had a reason to be in a bad mood.

But the contrast was striking. I had just spent an entire day in a loving, supportive community that had welcomed me in and shown me respect. And went from overflowing with positivity to being completely shut down. I had allowed hate to overcome love.

Donald Trump’s platform and speeches have done nothing but isolate Americans from one another and instill hate. He preaches of a twisted American dream that doesn’t promote equality or mutual support. By contrast, Warren Morrow dedicated his life to serving his community and promoting the American dream for all.

We do not need a president who will incite anger, violence, and hatred among us. We need a president who will foster a strong community, much like the one I witnessed at Warren A. Morrow Memorial Music Festival. Read each candidates’ platform, educate yourself on the state of this country, smile at the car next to you, and vote for hope.

courtesy Coopera Consulting

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