By Floriberta Sario
Hello everyone, my name is Floriberta Sario Perez, but I prefer Flor. I am currently a third-year student at San Jose State University pursing a degree in Business, Management Information Systems with a graduation date anticipated by the Spring of 2021. I was born in Oaxaca, Mexico in 1998 and was the third child of Leonor and Gilberto Sario, as my older siblings Elizabeth and Rafael were already in the picture. Poverty consumed us all and my father made the hard decision to immigrate to the United States. At the time my father decided to leave, I was two and a half months old, but my mother told me how they had to splurge on one corn cob (corn for us was a luxury) and split half between my brother and sister to distract them before my father took off to an unknown destiny. The plan failed and my brother quickly found himself forgetting the corn and clinging to the bottom of my father’s jeans in an attempt to keep him from leaving.
There was no other choice though “porque la hambre es canija (because going hungry is hard).” My mother joined my father only a year after he initially left. They both worked in the fields and saved the little they could so they could eventually bring my siblings and me to the land of opportunities. They had decided to wait until they could afford to give us all the luxuries we couldn’t even begin to dream of. But like any mother would, my mom found it hard to be without us so in 2001 my two older siblings and I were finally reunited with our parents and we were a family once again (regardless of the fact that we were still poor).
As I find myself writing this, I can’t help but reflect on the impacts my identity as an immigrant has had on my life. It’s one of the reasons I decided to attend San Jose State as San Jose State is a designated Hispanic Serving Institution. It is one of the reasons I am a proud member and officer of Grupo Folklorico Luna y Sol, a student organization which champions higher education among the Chicanx/Latinx community through traditional Mexican dance. It is one of the reasons why I am a committed Student Success intern at the Chicanx/Latinx Student Success Center, a space dedicated to the success of Chicanx/Latinx Students. I used to be silently proud of my past but through a mixture of events and self-growth, I have found the strength and the need to share my story. All immigrant stories are different, but almost all share a similar phrase: “For a better life.” A life that I am still working on creating but have faith that I will eventually live.
In celebration of Immigrant Heritage Month in June, San Jose State University’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion along with the University Advancement Strategic Communications and Marketing team collected and shared stories of Spartan students, faculty, staff and alumni who have unique and inspiring immigrant narratives. In addition, the university is highlighting research, scholarship and creative activities that enhance our understanding of immigration and contributions of immigrant populations to the fabric of our campus community and our society. See some of the photos posted on SJSU’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.