Victoria – African Immigrants in the US

More About Me

I’m Victoria Lara Olani’- Oyaniran. Like many African immigrants in the US, I migrated to the United States with the aspirations to pursue a greener pasture. At first, I was somewhat reluctant to come. “Why are you going to throw away the opportunity of a lifetime to become a citizen of a land growing money on its streets?” my family and friends lashed. My response was simple: I didn’t have to travel to America to make it. I’m a hustler, and can make it anywhere. Boy…was I too proud to admit the dismal reality of poor socioeconomic conditions of Nigeria. But then, in retrospect, I was partially correct. The idea of walking on gold in America, as we were told back home, is a fatal false.

The truth is to survive in the United States means to hustle. Naive as I was, I even came here pregnant. Who goes to a foreign land with a belly knowing there is no father, mother, sisters, uncles, aunts, or cousins to support! Well, I did. I figured if I was going to be walking on gold over there I might as well go loaded:). And yes, the land of gold quickly welcomed me to its realities. Like many immigrants, I have cleaned poop, watched over a bank as a security guard in a dark scary night without a weapon (honestly I was more an insult to potential armed robbers than a deterrent. I’d imagined them laughing hysterically at the shivering; foreign looking young lady patrolling the site to catch them), and had driven cabbie among other jobs. Have I had moments when I’d tear up and scream ‘goodness why on earth did I come!!’ You bet.

On the other side, I’m a proud mom of three adorable boys. I earned a college degree with Magna cum Laude from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and my Masters degree from NYU Robert F.Wagner School of Public Service. I’m a scholar, a fellow, and a recipient of numerous distinguished awards.

I was an intern at the offices of three New York State law makers. I’ve actively and passionately led student groups, and had represented my communities on key issues of interest. I work in workforce and business development.

Of all my enterprises in life, nothing gives me much fulfillment than working to positively impact other people’s lives. I’ve seen African immigrants in the United States struggling alone. Many of us had fallen on the same spot with the same trap as our elders who came here before us. We can come together  for our uplifting, and make Africa, beloved Motherland, and the world a better place.

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