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Sisterhood Spotlight

(En Español)

2022 sisterhood-Miriam Miyares
Miriam Miyares

This Hispanic and Latino Heritage Month, Miriam Miyares, mother of Virginia’s Attorney General Jason Miyares, shares about her family’s life in the United States. Having come to the United States from Cuba in 1965, Miriam Miyares moved with her family to Virginia Beach in 1987. In this Sisterhood Spotlight, Miriam Miyares tells us about her passion for freedom and democracy and speaks to what it has been like to see her son become Virginia’s Attorney General.

Tell us about what brought you to the United States?

I came to the U.S. in 1965 running from the socialist regime that overtook my home country of Cuba. The oppression and persecution toward anyone who did not agree with the regime’s policies and ideology became intolerable. The United States was a beacon of hope, a country where everyone could dream of achieving their goals with hard work and determination.

When did you come to Virginia?

I came to Virginia with my family in 1987. My twins (Jason and Bryan) were in 6th grade, and my oldest son, Steven, was a sophomore in high school.

Tell us about life in Virginia Beach.

When I first came to Virginia Beach, I felt right at home. I always loved the beach, and before living in Virginia Beach I lived in Greensboro, North Carolina and Tennessee, so it was wonderful to live close to the ocean again.

You taught your boys to love freedom and democracy. Did you ever have an inkling that one of them would pursue public service?

My children were taught from an early age how blessed they were to be Americans and to be free to express their ideas, worship and pursue their dreams.  When Jason was about 10 years old, he met one of my cousins, Gilberto, who was jailed in Cuba with a 30-year sentence for participating in anti-Castro activities at the University of Havana. He talked about the terrible conditions and the degrading punishment in Jail. He was allowed to come to the U.S. in a political prison release in the 1980s. Jason was mesmerized as my cousin detailed the horrors he suffered in the communist gulags.

 About two weeks later, I received a call from his teacher about an essay he wrote in his English class about my cousin’s ordeal. The teacher found it unusual to have a 10-year-old write something so profound at such a young age. I always told my children that the freedom they enjoy was earned by those that serve in the military and public service that preserve our amazing way of life. I feel that visit sparked his interest in pursuing later on a career in public service.

What was it like to see your son become Virginia’s Attorney General?

I was extremely proud and in awe when my son was elected Attorney General. I knew all that I had endured to start a new life in the United States was worthwhile to see my children to achieve their dreams, something that would not be possible in a socialist country where the government dictates what you can and cannot do.

What is one lesson you have learned that you would like to share with other women?

I have tremendous respect for America, my adopted country, that has opened its arms to me and so many others over so many generations who have followed the beacon of hope that is this beautiful country. The advice I would pass on to parents is to always remember we have a duty to nurture our children physically, emotionally and spiritually. We also have a duty to teach them the values and greatness of this country and about our Founding Fathers who gave us a legacy of freedom and opportunity. I am mindful of a quote from my favorite president, Ronald Reagan: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”

About Miriam Miyares

Miriam Miyares was born on May 3, 1946 in Havana, Cuba and fled the tyranny of communism for freedom on October 11, 1965. After fleeing to Spain, she then legally immigrated to the United States where she became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1982. In 2015, almost 50 years to the day that she fled Cuba, she was able to go into a voting booth and vote for her son, Jason Miyares, to represent her in the oldest democracy in the New World, the Virginia General Assembly.