Celebrating the Impact of Black Immigrants in American History: An Interview with Wendy Peters

"I’m contented with what I have while I pursue what I want. I am never satisfied. I believe there is always room to accomplish more."

Driving Toward Success: How Wendy Peters’ Experience as an Immigrant Shaped Her Career Aspirations and Approach to Achievemen

 How do you feel being an immigrant/child of an immigrant impacted what you saw as career possibilities?

When I left Grenada in 1987 my primary goal was to attend college and get a bachelor’s degree. My dream job was to be an air traffic controller and eventually a Meteorologist. I loved geography in high school and wanted to pursue a career in that industry. I migrated to the US to create a better life for myself and that was my focus. It didn’t matter to me that I was an immigrant.

Do you feel the Black American experience is different than the experience of Black Immigrants? 

Yes, it is different. The only things we own as immigrants when we first come to America is the suitcase of clothes and maybe some cash that we bring. We live with friends or family not knowing how long they are willing to accommodate us. As a result, there is an urgency for security and that urgency drives us to do whatever is necessary to find that independence and security. To have our own is what drives us.

What was the goal for you? What helped to drive you to your accomplishments?

The goal was always higher education. I’m contented with what I have while I pursue what I want. I am never satisfied. I believe there is always room to accomplish more.

Were there any rules of thumb or sayings repeated to you in your childhood that you live by to this very day? 

Rome wasn’t built in a day (Hard work, patience, and perseverance)
Don’t hang your hat where your hand cannot reach (Live within your means)

Pick three theme songs for your life. One for childhood, one for when you just entered the working world, and what’s your current theme song?

Three Little Birds – Bob Marley
The Best – Tina Turner
Promises – Maverick City Music

Did you know that by being who you are and pursuing your aspirations, you would be helping to write the following chapters of Black History? How does that make you feel? 

No, that was not even a thought. I just wanted to succeed at whatever I did. As I look back, I realize every test, trial and triumph was used to shape me into who I am today. Whatever plans I had in mind God did something better, and I am grateful.

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