For many children of immigrants we are “Standing on our Parents Shoulders”

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Jazmin Newton and her parents Ofelia & Ricardo Olvera
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It is a story of success. This story will warm your heart and brighten your day. This is a story of an immigrant family achieving their version of the American Dream.  

Today Jazmin Newton is running for Scott County Supervisor, who, if she wins the election, would be the only woman on this male-dominated board and the first Latina. But let’s rewind and take a stroll back in time because this successful attorney, small business owner, community leader, and the social advocate would not be even running the election campaign if her parents would not pack up and decide to immigrate to the United States, many years ago, with only $500 in their pocket, the exact amount that Newton’s parents donated to their daughter’s campaign today.  

Ricardo and Ofelia Olvera, parents of Jazmin Newton, met in Aguascalientes, Mexico. Mr. Olvera is from Mexico City, Mexico. After a year of courtship, the lovebirds tied the knot in 1983 and a year later they had their first beautiful daughter. Like most immigrants, the Olveras had to make one of the hardest decisions of their lives. They decided to move to the United States permanently, leaving behind everything familiar and dear to their heart and venture into an unknown place with unknown customs, traditions, and different ways.  

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“We decided that we wanted a better life for her and our family, so we decided to permanently move to the United States,” Mr. Olvera remembers.  “We moved here in 1986 with our daughter and my parents.”  

At that time the finances were tight for the Olveras, so traveling by plane was out of the question. They took the bus towards the promise of the American Dream in the United States. 

 

The family chose East Moline, IL as the place where they would settle. Mr. Olvera explained that they had visited East Moline prior to moving and felt like it was a wonderful place to live and raise a family.  

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“When we started our life in East Moline, Illinois, we only had $500.00 U.S. dollars to ourselves,” Mr. Olvera shared.  

The American Dream does not come easy and more often than not is achieved through hard work. The Olveras knew that some sacrifices had to be made.  

“Since coming to the United States, all we did was try to work as hard as we could so we can provide for our family. Our family grew and we had three more daughters. For the first three years, I worked construction in Chicago and would come home on the weekends. Subsequently, I was able to start a career with Metro Link, where I worked for over 29 years,” Mr. Olvera told us about the struggles on the way towards his version of the American Dream.  

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Even though Olveras worked hard to provide for their family, sometimes there was not enough money for even such simple things as a comfortable bed for their child. 

 

“It was very hard to raise a family in a new country because of the language barrier and cultural differences. When we first arrived, we couldn’t even afford beds and our daughter had to sleep in a cardboard box on top of a coat that served as her mattress We tried to do the best we could with what we had,” Mr. Olvera shared how difficult it can get for immigrants to survive in the United States.  

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Sometimes difficulties can throw people into despair, other times the same difficulties push people to make changes for the better. An unfamiliar country with unfamiliar customs along with the struggle of earning enough to provide a decent life for the family can certainly make people want to give it all up. But the Olveras persevered. At some point, the couple realized that education can help to open some doors. They understood that getting a degree might be just another important step on the road towards the American Dream.  

“At one point my wife and I both went to get our GEDs here in the US and subsequently enrolled at Black Hawk College to get an education,” Mr. Olvera said.  

After 34 years of hard work, Ricardo and Ofelia Olvera now are very proud of what they achieved and how successful their daughters have become.  

“Now, thirty-four years later, one of our daughters is running for public office. We feel proud and excited for her and feel that our hard work was worth it and paid off. We have the privilege of seeing all four of our daughters become successful members of society and live out the American Dream. We are the proud parents of an Attorney, a Doctor of Pharmacy, a Nurse, and a Medical Student,” Mr. Olvera shared with a lot of pride.  

It certainly was not easy to start a life in a new country with only $500. This $500 means a lot for the Olveras. For some, it might not be a significant amount, but for this family, this was the amount that started their journey towards the American Dream. That is why the Olveras donated this exact amount to their daughter’s campaign.  

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“We decided to donate $500.00 to our daughter’s campaign because it is the same amount we had when we started our life here in the United States. For us, it symbolizes hope and a new beginning,” Mr. Olvera explained why this $500 is such an important sum of money for this family.  

Mr. Olvera’s daughter Jazmin Newton understands how important this donation is.  

“As a mother of three, I understand that the love a parent has for their child is immeasurable.  I know my parents made sacrifices to give my siblings and I the opportunity for a better life.  I know that to my parents, donating the exact amount of money they had when they started their life in the United States, symbolizes hope, faith, and perseverance,” Jazmin Newton shared how important his donation is to her personally. “I am blessed to have such a supportive family. Their donation gives me encouragement to continue on with this election with the same hope, faith, and perseverance that my parents had.  This election goes further than simply getting me elected as a Scott County Supervisor.  This is about everyone having a voice and creating a government that is by and for its people.”

There is no doubt that for some of us, descendants of immigrants aspiring to an American dream of our own, that we are standing on our parents shoulders. 

  

For more information about Jazmin Newton and her vision for Scott County if she gets elected as Scott County Supervisor, please visit https://jazminnewton.com/ Election is on November 3, 2020. 

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