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“Pride” is the most used term when describing one’s thoughts on being Dominican. I know it is something that I always feel when I see our beautiful flag and every time I think about our beautiful country. Growing up as a first generation Dominican-American came with the benefits of being an American citizen but I was fortunate to have a strong connection to my Dominican heritage. My parents came to the United States with the goal of giving their children the opportunity to succeed beyond their wildest dreams, while also assuring their children would never lose pride in their heritage. This is a common story within the Dominican-American community.

Every summer I would spent in the Dominican Republic, specifically Bonao, allowed me to absorb what it meant to be a Dominican. It meant living life to the fullest and enjoy life with those you care about the most. Seeing my family, who didn’t have much financially, finding joy in each other’s presence showed me that nothing could bring happiness more than family. Being Dominican is about being happy with those you love.

My work with Dominicanos USA has given me the opportunity to empower my community and provide jobs. It makes me happy to know that the work I do with DUSA can assist in the people of my community to become more civically engaged with the democratic process and create new Dominican leaders for the community. The work we do today will help the Dominican-American community of tomorrow.

As the father to a 1yr old Dominican-American boy, it is my duty to make sure that my son maintains that same sense of pride when gazing at our beautiful flag and it is my duty to show him where our family comes from so that our culture can be carried into the next generation. It is my duty to make sure my son is proud to be a Dominican-American. On the 172nd anniversary of Dominican independence, I am proud to live everyday as a Dominican-American. That’s what it means to be a Dominican-American.

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