Alex Marrero, the badass drummer / singer / guitar player / voice over artist, gave a great Pecha Kucha talk here in Austin in July 2015. I’m going to do my best to summarize it here for your Independence Day reading (Non-US readers, just go along with us…).
In 1962, Alex’s parents left Cuba because they wanted freedom.
Freedom for themselves, freedom for their children.
They left all that they knew behind so that they and their kids might have the opportunity to make the choice of how and why they spent their days, how their children moved through the world.
Think about that for a moment:
They left everything, and started over, for freedom.
They landed in Virginia, and it was weird.
A few years later, the family moved again.
Mexico City, where Alex grew up.
They started over, again.
In his twenties, Alex moved to Austin.
To play music.
He’s Cuban, grew up in Mexico, lives in America.
Alex’s says that when he was a kid, his parents made them read the Spanish and English language newspapers. He insisted that they be bilingual. Alex understood what they were doing, but only later did he appreciate that what they were doing was giving him one more chance at freedom — freedom to navigate a bigger world, to be who he is without restriction.
Freedom to choose.
All the dislocation his parents went through,
All they put their kids through,
Was in pursuit of a very simple concept —
The ability to have some say over the way you live your life.
Alex told us that because his parents had the guts to leave everything behind, he now has the freedom to play music (which is a bit of a ball and chain in itself, but let’s don’t go there).
If you’re in the US, you have certain freedom.
It’s not perfect, it may not be all glory and silver linings,
But you do have the ability to make choices.
It’s possible to change direction.
So, on this Independence Day
Think about what the people who came before you, your family,
Your bloodline went through so that you have this luxury.
What did they give up, leave behind, overcome,
So that you can have these freedoms, big and small?
Freedom of choice.
Alex told us his story that night, looked us all in the eye, and asked us, as I’ll ask you now:
What are you choosing to do with your freedom?