I wake five to six days a week, earlier than I would like to so I can make sure that I’m get to what seems like a thank less job for a wage that at times I wonder if it’s even worth the time. Sound familiar? I’m sure it does, because it’s probably your story. We as the American Barrio all do what is necessary to make the wages necessary to live in this society. Those specifically in the financial sector of the barrio work hard for their money. Their motivation is like most other people. Some people work for pride. Knowing that they were able to provide for themselves and for those they love keep them in their jobs.

Mayra has a son. He is the pride and joy of her life. Like any reasonable mother Mayra would do anything for her family, specifically her son. She wakes up before the sun rises and stays up long after her sun goes down. Her dedication comes from knowing that no one else will do her job the way she can. Mayra learned her strong work ethic from her parents. They came from a generation where no one expected a hand out. To get food on the table they would learn any skill necessary. All efforts were for the family.

Juan has three daughters. If he doesn’t work they won’t survive here in Orange County. What does Juan observe day in and day out as he helps the community of Orange. He notices that those in younger generations seem to have a feeling of entitlement. They feel that the world owes them a break; something Juan’s parents would never have expected and wouldn’t have ever dreamt of. Truly the only way to survive and provide a prosperous life for yourself and family is through your hard work and dedication.  

Claudia was born in Mexico. She grew up in Orange County. Now she faces her future career in banking knowing that because of her experiences she can make a difference in someone’s life. The men and women that come into the bank work day in and day out to support their families. Claudia does everything she can to help them. With her cultural and educational background she wants to make sure that she helps her peers to succeed financially.

This is my barrio. Every day I wake up earlier then I should, to drive and in traffic that I hate, to work in what seems like a thankless job, for money that doesn’t seem worth my time. Then when I start going about my business in my barrio I start seeing what I need to. I have learned from my peers, community, my barrio that success for me and for my family will come from the fruits of my labor and toil. Isn’t that the American dream, to work hard and make something of your own? Sure the scenery has changed; more women are in the workforce, competition is fiercer, diversity is more apparent, signs of which the true American dream is alive in the barrio. Now more than ever anyone can learn a profession and if they work hard enough they can create a life for themselves and their families. The financial barrio is strong and will continue to grow.


About ocbarrios

Professor for Cal State Fullerton's Barrio Studies class for Fall 2011 semester

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