Immigrants celebrate American culture on Independence Day

KIMT News 3 – Whether you’ve lived in America your whole life or you’re new to the country, Independence Day is a holiday we can all appreciate as a reminder of the freedoms we value.

“I think we all have an important job here in this country and in this community. To teach each other how important it is to be free and to love one another,” said Student Advocate Miguel Garate.

Since moving to the United States several years ago from Mexico, Miguel Garate has always had a passion for helping others.

At Riverland Community College, he’s an advisor for international students.

He helps them better understand American culture, and what better time to do so then the Fourth of July?

“When we all get together on the Fourth of July and students like to participate and hold the American flag, it makes me so proud that they know how important it is to be free,” said Garate.

For these Riverland Community College students, it’s not so much the history of the holiday that has them excited, it’s the culture behind it all.

“I just go with my friends and see the fireworks. I enjoy how beautiful it is and then just the parade. I just love seeing all the people together,” said Riverland student, Ochudo Cham.

“I think that we are very lucky to be here through hard work. Just reflecting on all the opportunities that we have here in the US makes us want to celebrate even more,” said Student Advocate, Yesenia Mendoza.

For many people, Independence Day is a family oriented holiday and Miguel says it’s a perfect opportunity for these students to share this culture within their homes.

“Everywhere I go, I tell my students get your parents involved. Some parents they don’t know the language but they don’t need to know the language to learn how important it is to be part of this culture,” said Garate.

“Every month there’s more and more people becoming US citizens because they want to be part of this community and want to be part of the country. They work toward becoming US citizens so they can vote and now they’re not just a number anymore. They’re going to be a person who can vote and that’s what I want,” said Garate.

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