Dinka Sclendic decided not to share the trauma she experienced during the Bosnian Civil War with her son, Josip Dragic. In St. Louis, Dragic has made friends with diverse people.
By Holly Hargrove
Dinka Sclendic, Bosnian-Croatian Josip Dragic’s Croatian mother, lived in Yugoslavia during the Bosnian Civil War. Three countries which were formerly part of Yugoslavia were involved: Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia. Geographically, Bosnia splits Croatia into two.
Sclendic experienced seeing her ex-husband’s capture during the war. He had to have his front five teeth replaced because an army soldier kicked his face so hard that his teeth fell out.
“Seeing the Muslim [hijab] sometimes brings back painful memories,” Sclendic said.
Though his parents suffered through a war based on discrimination and ignorance, Dragic has friends of every race and religion. Dragic’s St. Louis-based car group, Limitless, is proof that people can move forward from generational prejudice.
Sclendic decided it would be best not to share her trauma of the war with her son. She didn’t want him to hold on to the mistrust that haunts her.
When Sclendic sees political and social unrest here, she feels a pit in her stomach that reminds her of why she originally moved to the United States.
“I like America because here, people of every faith live together,” Sclendic said.
Dragic is able to create a community that includes everyone because of her sacrifices. With the help of his friend Dylan Bounds, Dragic started his community car group. Limitless meets every Sunday.
“Starting something like this has been a dream of mine,” Dragic said.
People of all backgrounds attend this group to share in their common interest. Dragic welcomes everyone to meet and share their interest in cars.
“It is about the community and the people you meet,” Dragic said.
Sclendic said she’s proud that her son is able to make a foundation in St. Louis. When she first made the move to the U.S, she found refuge in Florida. Later in life, she moved her family to St. Louis.
“I know now that I made the right decision to move my family here. I came to Florida with 100 dollars and two suitcases. I’m happy with how things ended here in St. Louis,” Sclendic said.
Dragic agreed with his mother.
“St. Louis is home. I’m happy with what I’m doing here,” Dragic said.