Mother, originally from Mexico, ‘wouldn’t leave here for anything’

Story, photo and audio by Cristina Woodworth, NewsNetNebraska

Julia Roldan’s son is only nine years old, but she said he often says things that leave her speechless.


Julia Roldan, 35, stands with her daughter, Minerva, 2, outside their apartment building in the Everett neighborhood.

“He will tell me things like even if he doesn’t have presents for Christmas, he just wants his family to be together,” Roldan said in Spansish and translated by an interpreter. “Or he’ll tell me to remember that money isn’t important; the most important thing is family. There are things that just leave me there with my mouth hanging open like I don’t even know what to say.”

She said her son wants to be a scientist or a doctor or a policeman, so he will be able to help out his mom and dad by sending them money.

“Sometimes I worry that he is maturing very young,” said Roldan, 35, who is currently disabled and not working. “Worry about playing, worry about your homework, is what I tell him. But everything else, don’t worry about it.”

Roldan has lived in the Everett neighborhood for six years after originally immigrating to California from Mexico. She shares an apartment with her husband, son and two-year-old daughter. Roldan’s 18-year-old son and 17-year-old daughter still live in Mexico.

The family enjoys their time together, Roldan said.

“We play, we sing, we dance,” she said. “When it’s warm, we go outside and run around. At night, my son has a book about the ‘Lion King’ that he likes me to read to put him to bed. We have a lot of opportunities here that we didn’t have in Mexico.”

Growing up, Roldan said her family was extremely poor, but her mother tried to do the best she could.

“Her focus was always on us kids. She was an example for us to teach our kids to fight like she fought,” said Roldan, whose mother died a year ago. “I used to talk to her daily. I sent her flowers on special occasions. I felt like I owed it to her for what she had done for us.”

On birthdays and Cinco De Mayo celebrations, Roldan said, she would call her mom and let her hear the festivities going on in Nebraska over the phone.

Roldan said her family plans to stay in the Everett neighborhood for as long as possible.

“The United States is not like they paint it. That there’s lots of racism here and they don’t want us here,” she said. “A lot of the Americans here, they talk to us. They even give us parts of them. There are people who give us hugs, tell us that they love us, even if we’re not dressed well or if we don’t have money. I wouldn’t leave here for anything.”

Roldan enjoys going to classes with her son at Everett Elementary School (Translated by Teresa Lostroh):

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