As thousands of Dreamers question their futures in Trump’s America, John Gomez still has hope.
“At the end of the day, all of us are human beings — that’s what kept me moving forward,” the 28-year-old Queens resident said. “I don’t think that the world and society is this dispassionate about other people. I think as long as we keep a positive attitude and positive mental state, we could build a better society than where we come from.”
Gomez came to New York from Colombia with his family in 1997 and recently spent several years working three jobs — construction with his father, cleaning with his mother’s company and delivering for Postmates — to help them make ends meet.
“I wanted to do something more,” Gomez said. “For a long time, I went through depression of not knowing where I belonged. I got good grades in school, but I wasn’t really motivated because as an immigrant, what’s the point? I couldn’t have a career or anything.”
That is, until he discovered Coalition for Queens (C4Q), a tech nonprofit that offers an intensive 10-month coding course for low-income or underserved New Yorkers.
“I just jumped on it,” said Gomez, who was always interested in science. “I knew if I succeeded in that, I’d not only have a chance for a better life, but to fulfill my own aspirations as a human being.”
Calling the program “completely life-changing,” Gomez now works as an Android engineer at Date Cubed — and was honored for his accomplishments by C4Q at its annual Tech Bash this week.
“After working so hard and so long and training for something better, to see something like this happen, it’s hard to come to grasp with it,” he said. “I’m really emotional thinking about it and really thankful. It’s only the beginning because there’s so much I still want to do.”
And that’s the exact reason Jukay Hsu created C4Q.
“We founded C4Q to create opportunity and access to good paying jobs in the city’s exploding tech sector, and John is living proof that when New Yorkers have the tools they need to succeed, the sky’s the limit,” he said.