Thank you in advance for taking the time to read our story. My family and I have found myself in a quite a conundrum. My name is Jose and I’ve been living in the US for 21 years now, since I was 10 years old. The road to become a citizen of this great nation was a rough one. It took my mother and I nearly 13 years of struggles with immigration laws and procedures to make it.
My grandparents are Cuban. They left Cuba in the early 60’s after my grandfather hid 2 months in an attic for speaking his beliefs about what Castro’s regime would do to the island’s economy at college classes he taught at the time. When this happened, my grandmother was pregnant and was threatened multiple times with jail and even death if she didn’t give my grandfather up. They fled for Venezuela, a country which was thriving at the time.
During the early to mid 90’s, my mother made the difficult decision to leave Venezuela and headed for the United States. This was pre-Chavez but the safety and freedom in Venezuela was quickly deteriorating and my mother was looking for a safe and free place to raise me.
I became a US citizen when I was 23. It was one of the most memorable moments of my life. See, at that point, I finally understood what I didn’t understand when we left Venezuela. I had become a citizen of a nation in which I am free to worship God freely, where I can freely speak my mind, where I can freely excel if I work hard, where public safety actually keeps us safe and where laws exist in order to protect my human and Constitutional rights.
Today, I write to you with much anguish and disappointment. See, my wife and I live in a small community in northern Tamarac. About two weeks ago we proudly started to fly our US flag. Not long after, just a little over a week before Memorial Day, our landlord received a notice from the property manager that we are currently in violation of the HOA bylaws. Initially, the property manager claimed we were in violation since our flag is larger than the maximum allowed size by the HOA (2′ x 4′). The flag we are currently flying is a 3′ x 5′, the most common size sold throughout America.
In our frustration, we took to social media. We received much support and advice. Many suggested we contact the local news in an effort to get our HOA to cease attempts to intimidate us and their demands that we bring our flag down. Initially, their issue was only the size, but they’ve proceeded to demand that we take the flag down altogether and threatened our landlord with fining him $100 per day up to $1,000 as long as the flag remains flying.
We need your help! We have found ourselves in a bitter-sweet situation as we like where we live but refuse to remove our flag. We believe that our Constitutional right to proudly fly our flag and remember those who died to give us that right supersedes the HOA and Board of Director’s beliefs of what is or is not aesthetically pleasing for our community.
We would really appreciate your help in these matters. We’re looking for the HOA to back down, allow us to fly our flag and possibly find legal representation to avoid further being bullied or even fined for exercising one of our most basic Constitutional rights as Americans.