“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
These words still adorn our front door, as they have for the last 115 years. Long before Lazarus put pen to paper to immortalize them, immigrants were building this country, one brick at a time. Today, that same hope and dream of something better inspires thousands to leave all they’ve ever known—journey to place often foreign in culture and language—and start anew. The fearlessness and sheer courage required for such a move is something I deeply admire and is certainly a quality I welcome to our shores with open arms.
If you don’t, I offer you this challenge: what are you afraid of? Someone who looks different? Speaks differently? Dresses differently? Worships differently? Loves differently? Those differences are to be celebrated, not feared…not crystallized for the sake of camouflaging insecurity. I admit, embracing diversity of both background and thought is hard work—especially when you’re managing a large, widely-diverse team of people, trust me! It means being confidence enough in yourself to be vulnerable, to appreciate a point of view that isn’t your own, and to place value on unfamiliar things just because someone else does. It’s hard work, and it can be uncomfortable. But, the reward more than carries the tab. I say all of this to put the next 10 days in perspective. On March 5th, the children of millions of brave and fearless parents—who took us at our word from the sign on our front door—will face an uncertain future through no fault of their own. And I am ashamed to even write those words.
Dreamers are here because parents want better lives for their children, period. Regardless of color or creed, that is reasonably universal and should be universally understood as non-criminal behavior. It’s human, and it doesn’t go away just because we draw lines on paper maps. Dreamers are as American as I am…they just happened to have a different ISO code on their birth certificate.
In this country, we do not turn away fierce determination; we stand on it. In this country, we do not turn away hope; we depend on it. And on these shores, we do not turn away impudence; we built a country on it…with bricks laid by immigrants.
Remember that as you call your elected representatives over the next 10 days. #DACA