Last Saturday, Edwin Peña, my Little Brother, graduated from San Francisco State University. Congratulations my Friend.
I want to quickly add that the story didn’t start with Edwin, it started with his mother, Martha.
Martha Silva was born on a ranchero near Durango Mexico, she was one of eleven children. Like millions of other people born in poor, rural, Mexico, Martha uprooted her life and moved North, coming to the United States on a Work Visa in the 1980’s.
A couple of years later, shortly after her son Edwin was born, that visa lapsed and she was faced with a dilemma that has been faced by millions of people. Whether to return to Mexico legally or to stay in the United States without papers. Martha’s son was born in booming Silicon Valley, in Stanford Hospital, he is an American, America is all he knows. Martha stayed.
There are lots of immigrants that come to America while they are living high on the hog and they continue to, but most make huge sacrifices. Almost always, those sacrifices are made for a return that will only be realized by the next generation. That is our collective American Story, almost all of our ancestors came here for a better life, not for themselves but for their children. When Martha decided to stay she became part of that collective, part of the American Story.
Martha Silva worked cleaning houses, she started her own HouseCleaning business, and she raised Edwin as a single mother. When I first met Edwin he was in the 4th or 5th grade and we were introduced by Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bay Area.
I fell in love with Edwin immediately. He was sweet and earnest, intensely interested in the world and in love with sports. Today, he is a man and every bit as sweet and earnest, he is still interested in the world and he is, what I would call, a jock. He is an outstanding young man and he just became the first member of his family to graduate from college.