I was 16 years old and my brother was 12 in 1961 when our parents put us on a secret nighttime flight from Cuba to Miami. They said someone would meet us at the Miami airport, but when we arrived, no one was there. Thankfully, a woman named Rosa offered to take us home. That act of humanity was the first step in my life in America. I worked two and three jobs — cleaning toilets, picking tomatoes, whatever it took for my brother and me to survive. I also kept the promise I had made to my mother to attend college and went on to earn a Ph.D. in economics. I recently retired from a long career as the president of Miami Dade College, the nation’s largest and most diverse degree-granting public institution of higher education.
Eduardo J. Padron, The Hill, September 3, 2021
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