It was the other day when I was waiting behind a school bus parked outside a neighbor’s house in my housing development, I realized how diverse my development is. The young child, who appeared to be of Asian background, ran out of the house to get on her bus and her cat followed her out and ran under the car. Her mom waved to her child wishing her a good day at school and frantically began searching for her escaped cat. I was able to see the cat run under the car and then quickly scooted back into the open door of the house. I opened my window to tell her “don’t worry, your cat ran inside your house.” She smiled and waved to thank me and quickly ran in the house to close her door before the cat ran out again.
I was raised in Philadelphia in a predominant Jewish environment. My high school was approximately 80% Jewish, if not more. I am Jewish and loved the street I was raised in. It was a small street and I remember enjoying to be outside playing with my friends. We didn’t have computers or video games; we used our imagination to have fun playing ball, hop scotch, tag, Jax and other role-type playing. I had issues in high school because I am a free spirit. I enjoyed being who I was and did not like feeling I had to compete in order to be accepted.
Now it is fifty years later and I realize I have very strong feelings about discrimination. Because I grew up in a Jewish community, I wasn’t comfortable not learning other cultures, religions and diverse personalities. When I started working I needed to adjust myself to work with people of other ethnicities. I made many friends and enjoyed sharing our cultures. When I worked for the Federal Bureau of Prisons I immediately involved myself in the Affirmative Action Program so I can share my thoughts of nondiscrimination, especially after my son was born. The program allowed me to share disability awareness as well.
I am grateful for what I stand for. I am grateful to live in a diverse community. I enjoy watching all children of different nationalities playing together outside. I watch them play and pray they represent the change our world desperately needs; love thy neighbor regardless of their color, disability, sexual orientation and ethnic beliefs.
With the Thanksgiving Holiday in a few days, please take time to think about what you are grateful for.