My parents came here with nothing and whatever they did have, they made the most of. It wasn’t easy but they struggled through and they proved that you can come here and and make something of yourself.
My name is Gainkumar Ramsaywack, I am 45 years old and when I came here in 1975 my mom’s friend gave me the name Nick, after St. Nick, because I had big rosy red cheeks and it was Christmas time. I am actually from Guyana which is a country in South America. Guyanese families are very big and it’s always about spending time with each other and talking about great family moments.
I came here when I was barely nine months old and grew up in the Bronx. Even though we didn’t have much, we made the most of what we had and I think that is what everyone pretty much does when you come here, make the most of what you have. My biggest achievement was being the first to graduate from college in my household because my parents never had that opportunity in Guyana. I think immigrants are really important to this country because we come here with dreams and with different goals. And I think this is important to instill into our children so they can see that we came here with nothing and we created opportunities. I have my children and I think the most important thing is to leave them something that they can always have in their lives.
I think the American dream is to establish yourself and build your own business. Growing it in such a way that it becomes generational and leave a legacy for your children.
Someone once said:
‘do you know your great-great-great grandfather?’
I said ‘no, I don’t’.
And the guy said,
‘you know why you don’t know your great-great-great grandfather? It’s because he never left you a legacy’.
For me it’s not about leaving a legacy for my children only but going forward, for future generations. At the end of the day it just takes one person to change that path. Why not me?
I would say come to the US, take the opportunity that’s given to you, don’t let go and fight hard to keep it. Definitely try to align yourself with people that will point you in the right direction. Do not forget your goals, but most importantly is surround yourself with people that have a certain level of success and you will get there. It’s a process of resilience and continuing to fight.