At the end of every year, many publications, including Time magazine, often look back on the year to name a Person Of The Year. It truly is exciting to guess who that person will be or who will make the list. But what about the Immigrants Of The Year, or better yet, the Immigrant Heroes of 2019?
This year, I thought I’d start a new tradition by naming my top three immigrant heroes of the last year. Of course, given the climate under the xenophobic Donald Trump administration, all immigrants deserve the title; but sadly I determined to choose the Top 3.
So, what were my main criteria? I determined to choose as my top three––immigrants who not only had garnered tremendous public attention in the face of persecution in 2019, but those who managed to bravely face it head on, with courage, determination and intellect, despite threats and criticism.
People who actually made a difference by choosing to sacrifice themselves at the altar of public ridicule, that Trump worships at daily, to tell the truth for the greater good of our laws, including one who was fired after years of public service for bravely questioning the political skullduggery of the times.
Immigrants whose intellect and integrity to the civil service of these United States and to upholding the laws are impeccable yet were questioned by dumb right wing lawmakers intent on defending their new God.
Naturalized U.S. citizens who had their commitment to the country publicly questioned in the era of xenophobia and hate.
Immigrants whose families have also had to face the burden of seeing their loved ones defamed and defiled, simply for having the courage to stand up, respect the laws and tell the truth.
So who are my top three Immigrant Heroes of 2019?
1: Canadian-born former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Louise “Masha” Yovanovitch.
2: Ukraine-born U.S. Colonel Alexander Semyon Vindman.
3: U.K.-born U.S. national security and Russia expert, Fiona Hill.
All three rose from humble beginnings to become public servants of the highest caliber in these United States––an immigrant’s dream indeed and what truly make’s America great.
Ambassador Yovanovitch is the daughter of Mikhail Yovanovitch and Nadia (Theokritoff) Yovanovitch, who fled the Soviet Union and later the Nazis. She was born in Montreal but moved to Connecticut at age three.
Colonel Vindman was born to a Jewish family in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, Soviet Union. He and his twin brother, along with an older brother, were brought to New York in December 1979 by their father, Semyon (Simon) after the death of his wife and the children’s mother. They grew up in Brooklyn’s “Little Odessa” neighborhood.
Hill was born in Bishop Auckland, a hardscrabble former coal town in County Durham, in the northeast of England. Her father was a miner; her mother was a nurse. She moved to the U.S. only as a graduate student.
The bravery of all three immigrants in choosing to publicly testify in the face of tremendous pressure and at the risk of completely ruining their careers and their lives, contributed to the impeachment of Donald J. Trump, only the third president in the history of the United States to be impeached.
Whatever happens in the Senate trial, the fact is that Trump’s name will forever bear the stain of ‘impeached’ next to it and it is largely because of the bravery of these three top immigrants.
So, congratulations Ambassador Yovanovitch, Colonel Vindman and Ms. Hill. You certainly deserve to be celebrated and to become more than a footnote in the annals of history and more than a spot on the October news.
You are heroes and most of all, The Immigrant Heroes of 2019, of whom we are all proud.
The writer is publisher of HYPERLINK “https://www.newsamericasnow.com/”NewsAmericasNow