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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

MEETING NEW FOLKS

Since as long as I can remember, I have always enjoyed talking to people. Their life and experiences are different than mine. I've considered my history as mild compared to many, especially those that have emigrated from a land far away. Maybe this has to do with Mom being a foreigner herself, and knowing how tough it was for her to survive here. Language has it's challenges, society has it's challenges, even finding work would have it's challenges. To overcome all this and succeed is a testament to the individual pushing forward.

In the recent past, I have spoken to people from India, Bangladesh, Ghana, China, Korea, and others. The overwhelming majority are students who came to study at the college here in Middletown. For my little borough to become so international is the coolest surprise! The kids give me hope for a happier and less violent world....


It reminds me of why I feel racism is the dumbest human fail.

We here in the United States have the good fortune of hosting many people from a diverse set of backgrounds. Some are escaping violence in the homeland. Some are looking for the opportunity to raise their family in a safe and secure environment. Some already have family here. Some are alone. We all have a story worth listening to and respecting. I'm not sure who or why or what so many fear, to the point that society seems to hate each other at first glance, but all of us are missing out on learning different cultures and journeys.

To just dismiss this is to lose out on a fundamental human condition - we are NOT meant to be alone. We are NOT meant to stagnate. We are NOT meant to be isolationists. We are NOT made to fear the unknown.

The image we have of the world and it's people are not always correct. Media and Government do NOT take the place of an actual conversation and seeing the genuine reaction of those in front of you. I had a nice discussion with someone from Jerusalem, a Palestinian man, and came away with a desire to know more. He was a very deep thinker and it was obvious he was compassionate. The only downer was that our exchange was far, far too short.

Luckily, most of the folks I chatted with around here are being welcomed with open arms. They are part of our town, and with them, will come many new things for the area. Restaurants, stores, and new faces out and about, make my hometown a place that others will visit and appreciate. It feels so good knowing there will be more and more people that will call MY town THEIRS as well.


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