I participated in a Hispanic Heritage month essay contest a few months ago and wanted to share an adapted version of it for my blog post, my first in 2011. This phrase is hopeful, powerful and inspiring.
Although this phrase is in a language I am not familiar with, the meaning can be universal. For me, the words “Yes we can!” comes as one of those beliefs that many of us grew up with; when our parents always reminded us that if we really want something, we can make it happen. No matter where we were born and where we grew up, it’s such a hopeful message that resonates in everyone’s hearts. I often recall back to the first few years when I came to the United States trying to learn a new language and adjusting to new environments. It was one of the toughest times in my life and I remember I always told myself, I can do this, I can do it.
When I began to volunteer at KRCC, the phase “Sí, se puede” opened up new meaning as I was began to get involved with the DREAM Act and immigration reform.
It all happened when I attended one particular event. Hundreds of people came out to support a piece of legislation that would fix our broken immigration system. It was a bill for comprehensive immigration reform. The guest speaker that day was none other than Congressman Luis Gutierrez. His confidence in speaking about the issue and his powerful gestures made me believe that he was truly a man of the people and their causes.
I was amazed by his speech, but interestingly enough, the most memorable part of the event happened in the very beginning. There was a short introduction where he gathered everyone and began to chant “Sí, se puede! Sí, se puede!” It sent an energy that I have never felt before. Then one by one, people representing different ethnicities went up on stage holding posters that read “Yes, we can” in their own language. And one by one, they chanted, “Yes, We can” in their language. Even though the audience was not familiar with the language, everyone joined in and filled the room with hope and belief.
This day I learned how a small combination of words can bring people together in unity. It was also a moment of realization that with leadership, belief and dedication towards achieving dreams, change can happen.
I remember this now as we are faced with an even bigger hurdle this year. So for the DREAM Act, for comprehensive immigration reform, for our personal dreams, for the dreams of all, let’s all shout out again, sí, se puede! Yes we can!
Photo credit: Korean American Resource & Cultural Center