June marks Immigrant Heritage Month — and people across the country are sharing their American stories. Whether you've recently embarked on your first day as an American or want to share how your ancestors came to arrive here, we want to hear from you. Add your voice to the conversation today . America is a country bound together by its diversity. Almost all of us share the common thread that our families came from somewhere else. Our immigrant families are bound by more than that, however. We also are bound by a common belief that the opportunity available to immigrants who are willing to work hard in this country outweighs the substantial risk involved in pulling up stakes and restarting life in a new country. But the equation doesn’t work if you only weigh opportunity versus risk. The secret factor that tips the scale and propels people to take on such risk for such a tenuous shot at opportunity is courage. Each immigration story — whether it be from 1692, 1910, or 2015 — was built on the foundation of courage. I see that courage at play in my own family. My heritage stems from the islands of Sicily, Italy (Bisognano/ Raffa) and Ireland (McEachern/O’Brien). On August 23, 1914 in Queenstown, Ireland, at the age of 19, my great grandmother Bridget Clougherty boarded the S.S. Franconia bound for Boston, labeled as a laborer. She boarded this ship 19 days after the declaration of war by the United Kingdom in what would become World War I. She had the courage to leave most of her family behind and risk losing the stability that had defined her life in the small village of Clifton, Ireland in order to realize the opportunity she envisioned in the new world across the Atlantic. The O’Brien/Cloughterty on the porch of their Quincy, MA home. (Circa. 1945) read more

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The American Immigration Equation: Courage + Opportunity > Risk