As someone who has children with two Irish grandparents and two Croatian grandparents, I understand the opportunity that immigration affords. And as the daughter of two people who emigrated from Ireland, I am very thankful for the country that welcomed my parents with open arms. I grew up hearing stories about the Irish famine and all the poor, destitute, hungry people who travelled across the ocean on boats to a new land. Not knowing what to expect. But finding an open door upon arrival.
I know that the ancestors of John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan travelled to the United States from Ireland during the famine, as did the father of Henry Ford. And we all know what their descendants offered their country of birth.
As orders are signed and people march, I hope the principles I teach my children prevail. Kindness, acceptance and understanding. I hope we continue to evolve in a global world full of diversity. Where we can all grow by learning something new from a person who might seem different than us, but who usually wants exactly the same things we do. Peace, freedom and opportunity.
As former First Lady Michelle Obama once said, “We are a nation founded as a rebuke to tyranny. A nation of revolutionaries who refused sovereign reign from afar. Hear me – we’re a nation that says give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. A nation built on our differences, guided by the belief that we’re all created equal.”
May we all treat each other how we wish to be treated. What would it mean to us if we walked all night through a storm, with nothing but our loved ones, and found a warm, welcoming house with a candle burning in the window to welcome us home? May we always have a candle burning for those looking for a light.