Last summer I had the pleasure of bringing my parents to the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial down on the National Mall. It was a moving, if extremely hot, day for us, where things sort of came full circle for us. My parents weren’t born in the United States. They chose to move here in the 1950s when things were, shall we say, not great for black people. They become naturalized citizens, raised three kids here, and only recently returned to their home country to retire. But I’d say that my parents, for all their embarrassing Caribbean ways during my teenage years (that’s another op-ed), are about as American as you get. Because they believed almost more than anyone else I’ve known in the American Idea. The idea that no matter who you are, if you put your head down and work, you should be able to make a decent life for yourself and your family.The above excerpt was originally published in Loop 21.