A Celebration of Citizenship Day

Me in front of the Capitol building in 2009. My son was studying US history in high school and I wanted him to see it with his own eyes.

 

By: Shameem Hameed

Today, it’s American citizenship day, a chance to reflect back on the last couple of decades.

In 2001, I was living an Indian expatriate’s life in Saudi Arabia, trying to put my entrepreneurial skills to work in a software startup. This wasn’t my first rodeo in the software business. I had a successful track record as a serial entrepreneur in India. However, Saudi Arabia was different – as an immigrant, I was not welcome.

Flash forward three years: I landed in the United States, putting everything on the line to take my chances in a country I’d been told was the land of the free and where opportunity was available to all.

I had little money, no contacts nor relatives, and didn’t know where to start. All I had was my education and a will to succeed. Thankfully, that was all I needed.

America is set up for the dreamers and the bold, it has a way of helping the ones who dare to take a chance.

It’s been 15 years since. In that time, I brought my son from India and raised him as a single parent, putting him through university at Virginia Tech. He’s now chasing the American dream in his own way.

In my time here, I’ve built two successful companies employing over 200 people in America and India. I went from sharing a basement to living in downtown Bethesda.

This wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for the people of this country. I wouldn’t be who I am or where I am if it wasn’t for this great country accepting me and others like me.

So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you America, and a happy citizenship day to all!

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