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Thanksgiving Reflections

Thanksgiving reflections from our intern Tashi:
"The weekend before Thanksgiving, Welcoming Michigan collaborated with the Buddhist Meditation Center of Sterling Heights, Samaritas, the City of Sterling Heights, ICRJ and many other partners to host the second annual Thanksgiving Community Gathering. This event brought together nearly 100 members of different communities and backgrounds. During the program I was touched many times by stories of survival and endurance. One adolescent girl reflected on how she was thankful to be safe after escaping Iraq with her family. While playing in the back yard with her brother shrapnel flew just inches from their heads. The metal was from a car bomb that happened down the street. Another woman was thankful that the gathering gave her a sense of being seen. She was in a wheelchair and said people often overlook her. What was most touching was a woman’s story of leaving Afghanistan. She was 6 months pregnant with 2 children in tow. To escape tyranny she crossed rivers, valleys and mountains. Her story reminded me of my ancestors who ran to Canada to escape slavery, many of whom had to do so with children strapped to their backs and babies unborn in their wombs. As I sat in a room full of different religions and races I realized we have more in common then we have differences. One thing most of us had in common is that we were all children of immigrants, we were not native to this land. We share an outsider or newcomer identity. This is our land now because this is where we live and work, but this land is not in our blood. The average American is now a mixture of many races and ethnic backgrounds. This Thanksgiving I am happy to be living in a place with so much diversity. I am thankful that we have all managed to survive to be a part of America."