Last night, Senator Marco Rubio wowed the crowd during the Republican National Convention as he gave an introduction to the newly announced Republican Presidential Candidate, Mitt Romney. And for many Americans like myself, his speech hit close to home.

“But the one thing I remember is the one thing he wanted me never to forget. That the dreams he had when he was young became impossible to achieve but there was no limit to how far I could go because I was an American.” ~Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio’s words are similar to those I grew up hearing from both my parents. As someone who is of Hispanic descent, I’ve heard the stories of how my mother’s side of the family worked hard so that their children and grandchildren would be able to enjoy the “American Dream.” But I also grew up hearing how my grandmother and many other members of my family disliked being painted as a “minority.” From their view, they were everyday Americans who were just as capable to do anything they put their mind to as any other person in the U.S.  They weren’t “victims” of government, but proud citizens who loved their country; many of them served in the United States military with honor. It was this mentality that produced a strong sense of patriotism that each generation taught the next, all the way down to my mother.

My father (a “white guy” of Irish, Scottish, and Cherokee Indian descent) grew up in a small Southern California farming community and worked his whole life until medical disabilities rendered him unable to work anymore. But through everything, as most people in rural America, he trusted God to take care of things when life became difficult, kept fighting onward, and in doing so gave my sister and I an example of a strong man of faith. Thanks to our parents, who made it their goal in life to ensure we were well-educated, raised my sister and I to be strong, godly young women.  It is this sense of independence we carry with pride.

“We should be free to go as far as our talents and our work take us. And we’re special because we’re united not as a common race common ethnicity. We’re bound together by common values. That family is the most important institution in society and that Almighty God is the source of all we have.”

Now that I attend a Hispanic-based college, I’ve heard all the arguments posted by the Liberal Left who are so quick to stereotype people into “minority” groups as if we were all creatures in Aristotle’s classification of animals; pitting us against each other like this is completely awry of what being American really means. Our country was built by those who worked hard, creating our government and our civilization by hand and trusting God to guide them through the good and bad times. We have defied the odds that were against us on numerous occasions and overcame national tragedies because we came together as a people (on our own) and helped each other. And we have the ability to achieve our goals based on our merit and capability in the field of our choosing.

“In America we are all a generation or two removed from someone who made our future the purpose of their lives.”

Let’s face it — all of our families came to America for the same reason: not just to better their lives but trying to make a future their children and grandchildren would enjoy that they never had. We have the duty to do the same for the next generations. This is my story. It doesn’t matter what racial background you come from, that’s what makes us America. We all came from somewhere, brought by our families to enjoy freedom. For me and my fellow Hispanics I can proudly say: Viva America, la Tierra que te amo (the Land that I love)! Because it doesn’t matter who you are as long as you love America.

Elissa Roberson | College of the Desert | @ElissaRoberson