Equity for Immigrants
The 38th District is home to people from all over the world. This is our strength, beauty and pride. As a world community we’ve been damaged in the past several years by the Muslim ban, forced separation of children from their parents at our border, the increase in ICE raids in our immigrant communities and most recently, the scurrilous, pervasive verbal and physical attacks on Asians.
American culture has shifted dramatically in its tolerance for racism and hate. What was once horrific, but mostly tucked into the dark corners of our culture, has now been given permission to come out into the open by political leaders, media and iconic personalities. This is negating the slow growth we have experienced in recent years toward tolerance, acceptance and pride.
The headlines bring trauma every day, not just to the victims but also to the child in a classroom who isn’t sure if, when she goes home, her parents will be there or will have been deported; to the Asian woman walking down a street, worried she will be assaulted, or to the Muslim man shopping in his neighborhood grocery, looking over his shoulder as he feels suspicion and judgement merely for the way he looks.
How do we ensure our communities have zero tolerance for hate, ignorance and racism? First, every elected official, influencer, teacher and neighbor needs to become an ally to immigrants. We need to challenge ourselves to learn techniques for confronting others while being respectful of the victims. We need to find ways to celebrate the vibrant, significant and hopeful experiences we all share as a result of living in a thriving immigrant community. We should shop at their stores, eat in their restaurants and help them and their families when they are hungry, unemployed or in need of health care.
Unless we are Native American, all of us are immigrants, usually people fleeing war or famine hoping for a better life. And there has been hate for or prejudice against each new group of immigrants. But our country was built by immigrants, and every patriotic American should celebrate the courage, tenacity and love of our country that these new neighbors bring to our lives and culture.