Child of immigrant family votes for first time in Tippecanoe County

Participating in an election for the first time can be exciting for new voters. And for immigrant families, it comes with an even deeper sense of pride.

Posted: Oct 16, 2020 7:52 PM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) -- Participating in an election for the first time can be exciting for new voters. And for immigrant families, it comes with an even deeper sense of pride. One Lafayette family is finally feeling like they have a voice.

Roxana Gonzalez is a mother who moved to Lafayette from El Salvador almost 20 years ago. This election was going to be the first time she could vote as a naturalized citizen. Although some things didn't work out in her favor this year, she's finding hope through her children.

"Really, living in the United States is an honor, it is a privilege being here in this great country," said Gonzalez.

Looking for a life of more opportunity is what brought Gonzalez to America in 2001. She was in her fourth year of college studying communications in El Salvador when she realized finding a job and making money there was really tough.

"I started looking for jobs and it was really hard, sometimes with just having one dollar. It was so hard," said Gonzalez.

With her visa, she was able to move here and start working toward her American dream. She originally had plans to go back home but now with three kids all born in the states, she's here to stay.

"I think I fell in love with this place, this is my home," said Gonzalez.

As an immigrant working toward citizenship, being eligible to vote, and having a voice in her community is something she's been looking forward to. This was going to be that year.

"I was actually meeting all the criteria and tax time came and I decided, okay this is my time but then also Covid came and still you have to think okay, what's important," said Gonzalez.

The hardships of this pandemic made Gonzalez have to choose between paying for citizenship fees or putting food on the table. But her daughter Daniela Gonzalez who is eligible to vote this year is now standing in the gap for her family.

"We thought that this year we would actually be voting for the first time together but due to the circumstances, we won't be able to," said Gonzalez. "Her voice is actually counting towards minorities."

"It's a privilege," said Daniela. "I'm the first person in my family to be voting for the first time. I like to take a little honor at that privilege."

Daniela hopes all Americans, especially children of immigrant parents understand their privilege to vote and take advantage of the opportunity to have a say in their government.

"Notice the privilege that you have when you're voting because there are people that want to speak so badly, want to do something so badly but they can't just have to sit back and take whatever happens and that's probably the saddest thing ever," said Daniela.

While Gonzalez didn't get to apply for citizenship earlier this year, she has since sent in her paperwork thanks to her family helping chip in money.

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