Maria Bracamonte: Miami as Text 2022 – 2023

Photograph taken by  Angle platform /CC by 4.0

Maria Bracamonte is a junior majoring in Business Administration in Finance at the Florida International University. She aspires to develop her expertise in the field to combat the scarcity of financial knowledge and advises others to make smart monetary decisions. However, her long-term career goal is to build a company that allows her to give back to the community and offer growth opportunities to minorities in this country. She values academic excellence, community services, and involvement. She has completed more than two hundred hours of services in her community and has participated in and led multiple organizations. She is an active member of the Phoenician Investment Fund, and she is also part of the Honors College Program at FIU. She is passionate about arts, with more than ten years of experience in performing arts: dance and theater. Likewise, she has great admiration for photography, cinema, music, literature, and painting.


Freedom Tower as Text

“A Home for Immigrants” by Maria Bracamonte of FIU at The Freedom Tower.

Photograph taken and edited by Maria Bracamonte / CC by 4.0

The United States has served as a host to more immigrants than other nations, and it has been shaped by immigration over the generations. Newcomers have driven essential U.S. transformations, impacting it in all aspects: demographically, culturally, socially, and politically. Since its beginnings, this country has received immigrants from all over the world. For many, it represents a place of opportunities and hopes to flourish and find the freedom they so desire. Florida, specifically Miami, has become the second home for thousands of people who come in search of the American dream, arriving here with almost no resources. However, Miami is a city that has become well known in the world for being a wonderful tourist location, by providing luxurious experiences to its visitors. Throughout the city, you can see incredible buildings that are considered architectural works of art. From imponent residences to deluxe offices and astonishing museums.

This modern city is always moving and developing, and so are its buildings. It hypnotizes its residents and visitors with magnificent skyscrapers. However, we often fail to remember and overlook those buildings where history took place, and that was there from the beginning of this amazing metropolis. One of the city’s most impressive monuments, and a landmark is the Freedom Tower. This imposing 17-story building was built in the mid-1920s and has been reinvented throughout its history. The construction of the Freedom Tower was inspired by the Giralda Tower in Spain, and it was designed by the architectural firm Schultze and Weaver. The cast iron decoration, wrought-iron balconies, and concrete cherubs reflect the Spanish style of the building. It represents the confidence of early commercial companies in the future of Miami during the boom years. It was a great achievement for the time since it has more square meters of space than any other building in the area.

Photograph taken and edited by Maria Bracamonte / CC by 4.0

This building turns into an exceptional and distinctive component of the Miami skyline. However, its importance goes beyond its architectural impact. As its façade is as inspiring as its historical impact. It began as the Miami News Tower, it was a printing facility for newspapers originally named the Miami Metropolis, the first newspaper of the city. Later, it was renamed the Freedom Tower as it served as a Cuban refugee emergency center, that aided Cubans who managed to escape the dictatorship of Castro. It was in this building where hundreds of Cubans naturalized as American and started their new lives as free citizens.

The Freedom Tower is one of Miami’s most respected and treasured buildings because it represents the liberty of the oppressed citizens who fled tyranny in seeking democracy and the American dream. It was the place where hundreds of Cuban refugees had their first contact with the United States. It was also a place where many immigrants could access many essential services to start their lives in the land of opportunities. Nowadays, the Freedom Tower is a fully operational cultural center. It was donated to Miami Dade College, and it is part of the main cultural programs of the College.

As I immigrant myself, I appreciate the significance of this historical event and the building in which it took place. The Freedom Tower represents hope for those that have not found liberty yet, but it also celebrates the courage and success of those who made it. As I walk by its wall, I can taste the excitement of those who were there. I look back and understand their pain to the left what they call home. I reflect and feel gratitude for being here. And I look forward to thriving and achieving the American Dream, as they did.


Hialeah as Text

“The woman who revolutionized sports” by Maria Bracamonte of FIU at Hialeah.

Photographs taken and edited by Maria Bracamonte // CC by 4.0

On Wednesday, September 21st, 2022, while I was walking through Overtown and Hialeah’s streets I learn about perseverance. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, perseverance is a “continued effort to do or achieve something, even when this is difficult or takes a long time.” In other words, it is our ability to not give up no matter how tough the situation we are in may be. It might sound uncomplicated, but only those who fought for what they believe in, realize the strengths it takes to make it that far. Perseverance has been an essential element to reaching success in more than one historic event. It continues to be that power that allows us to get to our full potential and inspire individuals around us. Therefore, it is terrifying to visualize how different our lives would be if those who fought against injustice and unfairness would have given up in their quest because of the struggles it involved.

The bravery and perseverance of Diane Crump are what inspired me the most during this trip. Crump was a jockey and horse trainer, who became the first woman to participate in horse racing in The United States of America. Even though females have pretty much always had access to physical activities in an enlightening and entertaining sense, it is not a secret that women did not have as many opportunities to engage in these activities as competitions as men could. Therefore, Diane’s participation in the event was so controversial that it required a full police escort through the unfriendly crowd at the Hialeah Park Racetrack. She had to deal with gender barriers, judgment, verbal aggression, and rudeness from male jockeys, who decided not to participate in the race because of her. On the day of the race, she faced many obstacles, but she persisted and competed.

Photographs taken and edited by Maria Bracamonte // CC by 4.0

Despite the race itself being seen as the main challenge for Diane Crump, being able to participate was in reality her accomplishment. She persisted in her dream of race as a professional horse jockey. She lost the race that day but “in a career spanning three decades, she rode 300 winners, and became the first woman to compete in the prestigious Kentucky Derby in 1970 – a race that only six women have taken part in since it was first to run in 1875” (McKenzie).

Diane Crump’s perseverance in her dream allow her to become a major changemaker and an influential individual for many women who were also struggling with their own dreams. In her own words, “No matter what you do, there are going to be a lot of challenges and obstacles. You are going to get hurt, at least in my sport. You are going to feel like you can’t accomplish what you want. So, you have to have that belief in yourself that you can do what is in your heart. To me, that’s it. The dream is in your heart. No matter if I was injured, how many broken bones, how much pain, how much resistance. I just never gave up” (NY Times).

Works Cited

Cambridge Dictionary. “Perseverance.” @CambridgeWords, 21 Sept. 2022, http://www.dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/perseverance.

“Jockeys Know the ‘Pick Yourself Up’ Mantra Well.” The New York Times, 2020, http://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/29/sports/horse-racing/diane-crump.html

McKenzie, Sheena. “Jockey Who Refused to Stay in the Kitchen.” CNN, CNN, 26 Sept. 2012, http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/26/sport/diane-crump-first-female-jockey/index.html.

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