Victor Gomes, The Phoenix, February 27, 2014.
1) Could you describe your background and beliefs throughout your life? Your beliefs before going into Swarthmore, during, after, and currently. Have you noticed, looking back, any way in which they’ve substantially changed?
I grew up in West Virginia in a family and culture that believed in God, the Democratic Party, the United Mine Workers of America, and the philosophy of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. We were quite sure that God believed in the Democratic Party, the United Mine Workers of America, and the philosophy of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. My parents were children of immigrants. My mother’s people had come to the U.S. to escape the grinding poverty of southern Italy. They were Catholics. My father’s people were Syrians who had fled Ottoman oppression. They were Eastern Orthodox Christians. People on both sides of my family experienced ethnic and religious prejudice and discrimination, but they were patriotic Americans who regarded the misconduct towards them of some of their neighbors as an aberration, something inconsistent with the principles of their adopted nation. The men on both sides served proudly and bravely in World War II. Recently, my father was made a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor of France for his contributions in Normandy and Brittany to the allied victory. These were the familial and cultural influences and experiences that shaped me.
The Phoenix (Swarthmore)