The other day, as I was passing through a toll booth on the way to DC, it hit me with such overwhelming clarity… as I was greeted by a patient, kind, and smiling man with an accent from southeast Asia… that what the US would be without the awesomeness of each and every immigrant is beyond horrible to imagine. This past weekend, I talked with beautiful souls from Kenya, Eritrea, Morocco, and many other unnamed countries while at a wedding, and I really enjoyed taking the time to be present with each person beyond the passing formality of business. I felt warmth, kindness, and joyfulness in our exchanges, and know that my own heart’s warmth, kindness, and joyfulness was so happily reflected back to those people, and I know for sure that my days were better because of those moments of rich, meaningful connection.
At 18, I left the very much white-bred, conservative, dominantly-Christian area of my birth and upbringing, and found myself in Baltimore in music school. I was SO green ~ I’d never knowingly encountered much diversity, and in the first weeks of my new life in Baltimore, I had friends who were from ALL over the world. People who spoke many languages other than English, who practiced many faiths or none at all, who were exploring and identifying their genders and sexual orientations in ways that I’d never even imagined, and whose ethnicities were beyond my capacity to name. Somehow, the closed-ness of the land and people of my birth did not infect me, and I was open, eager, and excited to be among so many interesting, creative, amazing people. And my life has only become MORE diverse, colorful, and expansive from there. What a gift.
What I see is an emergence. The emergence of the worthiness of all people ~ and people taking a stand to declare their worthiness. People saying NO to remaining second class citizens, lesser human beings, and the repression and oppression that come from a culture that has upheld unjust ways for far, far too long. As a woman who is joyfully and LEGALLY married to another woman, the love of my life and all my lifetimes, I am grateful to have learned for myself the magnificence of allowing true love to unfold no matter what it looks like! Everyone deserves that. I’m grateful for this being my glimpse into a larger reality of going-against-the grain that so many people experience in far more difficult ways than I do. I am grateful to be married to a woman who is half Filipino, half German, first generation American, as it’s helped me to know first hand what the challenges of making it as an immigrant can look like, not to mention the microaggressions and discrimination that someone who is even *partially* brown experiences throughout her life. I am grateful for having so many friends and colleagues who have openly shared their struggles and experiences of trying to find stable ground in family, community, work, and life because they somehow don’t fit the old-school dominant culture ways and beliefs. Ultimately, those old-school dominant culture ways and beliefs are *meant* to subdue the counter-current forces that allow space for anything other than white, Christian, conservative values, using Jesus and the Bible as tools in continuing to punish and oppress those who don’t fit the bill.
And the America that is scratching and screaming and flailing about right now ~ the ones who perceive that they have so much to lose by allowing others to simply exist as they feel is best for them ~ if THAT is the essence of America that would remain without all of the amazing beings of all colors, all nationalities, all languages, all sexual orientations and gender identities, all belief ways ~ that whitewashed America is NOT worth saving. It is a painful and sick dream, with no basis in reality or the true values upon which this nation was founded. I stand for the dismantling of that America today and for the rest of my life.