This sign graces our front yard. It does a good job of putting our hearts into words. We want our home to be welcoming, especially to those who may not feel so welcome right now. My friend from Jordan was so excited when she saw it that she had to stop and take a picture. She told her son she couldn’t believe anyone would do that!
Last weekend I took our boys to their first public rally. It was a welcoming rally, and we put our voices together with many other voices from our city to let it be known that we want to be a welcoming city. My oldest carried the sign from our yard and immediately we had a slew of folks asking us where we got it.
A young Afghani woman shared her story about how her father was killed by the Taliban. When grief caused her to pause her story, the crowd filled in the pause with “We are with you!” The irony of it all gripped me. Here was a Muslim woman who herself had lost someone she loved to terrorists, and has come to us for sanctuary. Her father had been part of the resistance against the Taliban, so after he died it was no longer safe for her and her family to remain in Afghanistan. They spent two years in Pakistan before coming to the US, during which time they could not go to school but had to work to support themselves.
We forget that many refugees themselves are victims of terrorism. We also forget that throughout history, and still today, people with our same skin tones and religious affiliations have inflicted unspeakable terror on others.
Enough lines drawn. Enough boxes. We are people.
But then be ready to open your doors. A sign is no good if you aren’t ready to live it.