In recognition of Immigrant Heritage Month, I was honored to participate in a number of policy discussions, strategy briefings and political engagements focused on harnessing the enthusiasm and energy of diverse ethnic and immigrant populations from across the US.
A combination of policy and politically driven events at the White House, US Senate and Democratic National Committee gave participants from 30 different Diaspora groups an opportunity to meet one another, learn from each other and prove once again that we are stronger together.
At a time when our nation continues to mourn the loss of at least 49 innocent lives, it seemed especially meaningful to be having these conversations. While it went largely unsaid, there was no doubt that the question as to why the Orlando tragedy occurred weighed heavily on everyone’s mind. We didn’t debate gun control, religious liberty, equality, or any of the other underlying factors that may have led a deranged murder to commit such a heinous act. Instead we discussed how we could best engage diverse immigrant communities, and make sure that every individual within our nation’s borders has the opportunity to benefit from the ideals our forefathers laid out in the Declaration of Independence.
Through these events I met with individuals who identified as Greek, Pakistani, Ukrainian, Arab, African, Asian, Macedonian, Irish (of course), and many others, but for all it was the American portion of their ethnicity that shined the brightest. All shared a common love of their heritage and an equally strong desire to strengthen their communities by building a stronger America.
As our time together came to an end, I left with a satisfaction that while many issues related to our nation’s rich diversity remain unsolved, new relationships exist to continue to push us all in the right direction. Diversity is and will continue to be one of our nation’s greatest strengths, and through open dialogue and civil discourse we can harness the energy that comes from it to lift up all Americans. That’s what will continue to make America great.