Sunday, December 10, 2017

My Response to “Diversity is not our Strength” tweet by Steve King (R-Iowa)

“It’s a small world after all … “ the song went as my boat ride passed children of all ethnicities, holding hands across the world at Walt Disney. It was Diversity. Inclusivity. Love. 

It's a Small World Walt Disney 

My mother, an immigrant from Greece, had become single by the time we moved to Florida. I was 8-years-old, my brother three years younger, and she had little help from anyone aside from friends. She taught belly dancing, and her friends from Syria, Turkey, or Lebanon turned our place into the United Nations. Memories of whirling dervishes, their laughter, and joy shared among these women, echoes in my heart and memory. They found each other in an otherwise isolated existence living in Central Florida and formed bonds to last years.

This was the early 80’s, my mother was tall and beautiful in a striking way. Exotic. She stuck out of every crowd. Her broken English I never noticed until someone pointed it out, or if I were away a while I’d hear it.

At 13-years-old, we moved to Key West after my mother married her friend, Kamal, from India, and we lived there for a time. Turned out Kamal was gay. (Long story there) I have fond memories of his sister’s Tandoori Chicken, unable to sleep, but the stomachache was well worth the indulgence.

While we lived in Key West, my mother met a Cuban man, and with the help of his son, translated the passions running between them. We moved to Miami and she learned to cook arroz con pollo and café con leche. I had a new family, five brothers and a stepsister, all born in Puerto Rico. I loved learning about their cool jobs, and wild adventures. I was 15 when my stepsister told us she was gay. My oldest stepbrother was also gay, the one who explained dreams and astronomy, and understood the abstract ideas I enjoyed talking about. The youngest of my stepbrothers lived with us. Close in age, we bonded over teasing and taunting, while forced to share a home for a year, before I left for college.

This is my America. Diversity is my America. In the melting pot of New York City, I’ve found a home., and now married with children to a Jewish man.  

 Dear Steve King (R-Iowa)
 I have no trouble calling out racists or bigots. 

We have but faith: we cannot know;
For knowledge is of things we see
And yet we trust it comes from thee,
A beam in darkness: let it grow.

Diversity strengthens ME! I have faith in the good people of the earth moving toward unity. #OneLove