My father’s side of the family came to America from Herne Hill, Canterbury, England in 1630, sailing on the Winthrop Fleet, and ended up in Massachusetts.
My mother’s side came from Laugharne, Carmarthenshire, Wales right around the same time, and ended up in Virginia. Somehow, fortunes were made and lost, generations passed, and my grandparents ended up in Olympia, Washington.
When you look back far enough, every person in this country is an immigrant. The Native American tribes and First Nations peoples came first, across the waters and across the land bridges. This was their land for thousands of years. But we who claim European, African, and Asian ancestry are all recent immigrants. We are only here because our parents and grandparents found a place where they could raise their family in relative safety, and forced their way in. Some were brought here against their will, but stayed, hoping to find a better life. It wasn’t easy, and those times were difficult.
We are decent people, trying to live good lives. Individually, we don’t see ourselves as exclusionary or cruel. We believe in the greater good, and because we do, change will come. The face of America will evolve.
Immigrants have always come to America and always will, and they will be a part of what makes this nation a good place to live. We will find common ground because this is a small planet in a large universe, and right now, we have nowhere else to go. Change and growth are never easy, and there are always some who would hold back, fearing the unknown.
Today America celebrates its independence from Great Britain. Today we celebrate our diversity.