This year’s winner of the Dawson County Democratic Party J.P. Livaditis Memorial Scholarship wrote about the diversity in America in her essay. We are a country of immigrants. This fact has brought us people from all over the world in search of a better life. Native American Indians were the only people here before immigration to America started. Most likely everyone reading this article is descended from immigrants, unless you are a pure blood American Indian. Because of immigration, America is a country of different cultures, races, ethnicities and religions. We are also different because of different ideas including politics, sexual orientation, likes and dislikes.
But as our essay winner stated, sometimes in America we struggle to accept these differences. Acceptance, love and tolerance sometimes seem to escape us.
When it comes to immigration, it might do all of us well to look into our own ancestry. We have done that in our family and it is amazing what we have learned. A group of English immigrants came to America in 1633 and established a colony in Windsor, Conn. On that ship were my relatives from my mothers’ side, the Wolcott’s, whose descendants went on to sign the Declaration of Independence and become governors of several states. These people were escaping religious persecution from England. Others, the Kiene’s, came from France and Germany in the 1700s. The Irish side came in 1840 to escape the potato famine in Ireland, which caused the loss of 25 percent of their population. Both these groups fought in the Civil War.
One of our biggest migrations was the slaves brought here from Africa during our country’s early years on into the 1800s. Of course they were not seeking a better life, but were ripped from their homes in Africa to serve the white people who bought them. That was the beginning of the change in the face of immigration. Before slaves, most immigrants were white.
And the changes continue. Now we have immigrants from Asia, Mexico, Africa and Central America. These are people with different cultures, religions and ethnicities, but there is one other difference—the color of their skin. Is this what is causing the extreme backlash we have having against immigrants—the color of their skin? Is this why we have the rise of “White Supremacy” groups?
Unfortunately, the person who is currently serving as the leader of the country has said he doesn’t want to take in immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries. In other words, white people only. It is up to us as Americans to think about our diversity, to fight back against this hatred, and perhaps learn to think about diversity as what makes America great. We will be a better, stronger nation if we do.