My grandmother is my keystone.A keystone is the stone placed at the apex of an arch. It is the final stone that is placed during construction of an arch and provides structural integrity. Before placing the keystone the arch cannot carry even its own weight. One of the most interesting aspects of a keystone is that after the arch has been put in place the keystone can sometimes be REMOVED without the structure itself collapsing.

Meliana was her name. She placed my roots in Haiti.

She was a seed dropped into barren soil who bore fruit. Her roots anchored the soil, her leaves fell to enrich the land, and then her fruits littered the ground. I grew in this soil, in the cool shade of her love. She protected me, nurtured me, and now with the end of her days I continue her legacy.
I am a Haitian-American living amongst a privileged few.I stop now to consider the ancestors who led me to this place.I stop now to consider the benefits that my education provides.I stop now to consider the foundations built by generations past and the foundations I lay for generations future.I stop now to study my roots and thus to learn about myself.

For my entire life I’ve watched my grandmother as she sacrificed everything for her children and family. Through her example I set my goals, to earn enough to leave my family in a secure position for generations to come. Every morning I wake up to a picture of my brother’s kids. They are the product of our family’s struggles and our successes. For every perceived obstacle they face, their Haitian ancestry, their blackness, etc, they have advantages that most humans on earth would kill for. They are American citizens, middle class, well fed, and will most likely be educated quite well.

The problem is that, I’ve increasingly begun to question how noble my cause is. The education with which I’ve been provided has opened my eyes not just to the suffering of those less fortunate but also the role I can/should play in bettering their lives. Learning about men like Paul Farmer and Nelson Mandela and women like Mother Theresa and Aung San Suu Kyi has proven to me that we each can have a profound effect on the world or at the least our sphere of influence. And so I ask what do I owe to the seeds of this next generation?Who do I owe the most to?Should I be providing as advanced a position as possible for Shanna, Kenaz, and Kemiel? Helping underprivileged Americans?Or maybe something more?

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