I went for a run the other day and passed this lovely family (twice) as I circled Stewart Park… it was a beautiful day and as I waved for the second time, with both hands and a big smile, they all smiled and waved back, almost laughing at my cheerfulness.
They were a family of color, probably with relatives who originated somewhere very far away and I am grateful that they chose to make Roseburg their home. Why? Because they give me hope that our community will learn acceptance, love, tolerance and grow into a place where we are all more safe, where we all value education, libraries, and our environment.
Some of my most cherished friends and family, immigrants, have moved away to places more progressive… friends from Mexico, Ireland, Brazil… while others from, Japan, Australia, Israel, England, have chosen to stay. Our community is enriched by people who bring with them culture and ideas that are different from ours, we are not diminished, we are uplifted.
Our car was broken into the other night, by some guy, probably on drugs, who had no sense of respect for others. WE are doing something wrong as a society when we vilify people who are trying to make a better life for themselves and their families by working hard and getting an education, when our own children are loosing themselves to drugs, video games, violence, and crime. Hurling hateful rhetoric on-line, out car windows, and in classrooms, is spurred by the man who sits in our highest office, himself hurling hateful rhetoric… a twisting of the first amendment… free speech does not mean that you HAVE to be hateful or unkind… just because you CAN be does not mean that it is right. Being hateful is a choice.
Teaching children to love learning, value education and respect others begins at home. I know that our town is full of families who do just that. So I am glad they will be joined by new families coming to live the American dream. They are not takers, they are contributors, they are business owners, they are hard workers and I welcome them, smiling and waving as I run by.
I hope that our small community is overrun by people of color, by immigrants, by people who may not attend the popular church or any church… diversity is our path to a better society. So, thank you for choosing Roseburg … we need you.