- “The greatest gift that you can give to others is the gift of unconditional love and acceptance.” -Brian Tracy
- “The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.” -Nathaniel Branden
- “Happiness can exist only in acceptance.” -George Orwell
- “As I get older, the more I stay focused on the acceptance of myself and others, and choose compassion over judgment and curiosity over fear.” – Tracee Ellis Ross
On a recent trip, I was pleased to find these signs of an open and accepting community around town as I took an early morning walk. It gives me hope for the future. At a time when it seems like we are taking more steps back than forward, it’s encouraging that there are still people who are willing to speak out for what is right.
In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. I have chosen one of his quotes. There is so much I could say about equality, civil rights, discrimination, prejudice, and diversity. Those topics strike very close to home with me. They strike my family on so many different levels, but for today I’m focusing on the race issue. It’s one I have not addressed yet.
My family is white. Jasmine’s family is African-American. My grandson, Beej, at 8 weeks old is a blank canvas. Although we know very little about him, there are glimpses here and there of things to come. The world he will grow up in is very uncertain. He will face unique challenges based on other’s perception of who he is.
When my son married his wife, we joined two culturally different families. We became the living embodiment of diversity. We could have chosen to remain US and THEM but the thought never crossed my mind. We have spent holidays together. We are one family. I think it works so easily for us because we entered into this with the same attitude- one of mutual respect and caring.
My dream is simple.
I want to live in a world where my son can go anywhere with his family and be accepted. They should be able to go to a store without people doing a double take or looking on with judging looks. People who were raised with prejudices should cast those perceptions aside and take the time to get to know others who are different. Skin color is just skin color. I want people to know that it’s okay to ask questions about things we don’t understand and talk about the hard things. The only way to get past ignorance is to open yourself up to all the possibilities in the world- and one of the most basic is that all of us are created equal.
My family is a beautiful melting pot. We love each other and we learn from each other. And when you get down to it, that’s all that matters, right? My dream is to live in a world where we all focus on love, acceptance, and celebrating our differences.