It is very heartening to see the outpouring of support for immigrants, after Donald Trump’s ban on immigration from several Muslim countries. We have also seen, recently, people from other cultures and countries being denigrated, such as Mexicans, Indians, and Jews. The Southern Poverty Law Center indicates that there has been a huge growth in hate groups recently. But, in a positive way, we can focus on the tremendous push back that we are seeing by the majority of people in the United States against all this hate and misunderstanding.
When I was at a high school in St. Paul recently for a tournament, I saw signs all over the school for “hijab day”. All girls were invited to wear a hijab in support of the Muslim students at their school. The signs said that they could go to a certain room where they would be given a hijab and get help learning how to put it on. I imagine girls of all colors and creeds coming together in that room, laughing together, talking together, and offering support and friendship. Empathy, growing stronger because of this very concrete and beautiful action.
As we see hate crimes growing against Jews again, we also see Muslims and Christians and atheists offering help and support to Jews whose cemeteries were vandalized, who endured bomb threats and worse. At our local Minneapolis JCC, when a bomb threat was called in and they had to evacuate small children from a swimming pool, shivering in the cold winter air, a nearby business quickly took all the children in.
People are saying, no, this cannot stand. Rather, we stand with those who are targeted as different. They are not so different after all. They have families, communities of faith, jobs, friends. People from Pakistan, Somalia, India, Syria share our humanity. They also have cultural differences. Let us learn. Let us respect each others’ differences, as well as our common humanity. Let us have empathy.
The sign pictured, “ALL ARE WELCOME HERE”, grew directly out of the election and the feeling that, suddenly, and in a very un-American way, all are not welcome here anymore. I see this sign everywhere I go–in people’s yards, at the high school I was visiting, at a large shopping mall in the central court (endorsed by the city of Edina). Please check out the website, learn more about why all should be welcome here, and expand your empathy. Also check out their Facebook page. This month, they’re posting about wonderful women is support of Women’s History Month.
Let us say it firmly: ALL ARE WELCOME HERE.