America's Dreamers, America's Doers

Many people know Camden's unfortunate reputation as the most dangerous city in the country. But even more people do not know about momentum by some of Camden's residents to change the city's face. Today's front page of the Philadelphia Inquirer features a report entitled Hispanic shoppers revitalize Camden's Federal Street (available online). Having blogged recently about the American Dream here, this article about Camden's Hispanic community is especially worthy of mention.

The growth epicenter's location is six blocks of Federal Street between Marlton Avenue and 27th Street. Long identified with abandoned buildings, Mexican and Dominican immigrants have resuscitated the "heart of East Camden." The lonely sound of the whistling wind has been replaced by upbeat music pouring out of restaurants and bustling businesses.

Where the Hispanic cross-section accounts for 42% of the city, Mexican immigrants make up the majority of the business owners in this area. Most of them come from Puebla, inspired by America's promise of opportunity. These industrious individuals have clearly taken responsibility for their own lives, and along the way they are improving Camden for everyone. This true story illustrates rugged individualism. Straight out of Camden, these men and women should inspire others to assess their strengths, capitalize on them, and move to improve every day. The opportunity to do this is one of the many things that makes America great.