This is not intended to be a political statement, but it is kind of difficult to talk about immigrants and immigration without it turning into some kind of my side/your side discussion. This is just me and my observation of the world around me, and occasionally I witness moments that are truly special and act as a reminder of how lucky we are to live where we live and have the opportunities we have. The Pope was just in New York and the energy in the city was frenetic but happy, and it was cool to hear this holy man’s messages of peace and acceptance. The Pope talked about immigration and immigrants, and sent the message “Never be ashamed,” to the immigrants in this country. This rang through my head as I watched an adorable young Asian girl and most likely her father, head towards me on the sidewalk. They were animated as they walked, the little girl’s hair wound tightly in a bun, probably on her way to ballet class. When they passed by me, I overheard a piece of their conservation that kept me smiling all morning. The father, in a very thick Asian accent, was repeating the word “professional.” He was clearly struggling to get the pronunciation right, and his daughter continued to smile and encourage him, while she restated the word in perfect English. Professional. Think about that image for a minute, and write the narrative with me. Clearly immigrants from some Asian country, this little girl is lucky enough to have the gift of at least two languages, her native one, and now English, as well. She is using that gift to help her father, take command of the English language, just like she has. That’s what this land of opportunity is all about! It’s not about building walls and keeping people away, it’s about breaking down barriers so we can all learn from each other! Next time you’re on a street corner, take a moment and listen to all the languages that pass you by. Find gratitude that we live in a country where people can be celebrated and supported for their differences, and not punished for sounding or looking different. Find gratitude that we live in a country where so many only dream of getting to one day, and applaud the many who have managed to make it here and call the United States home.
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