People come to America for many reasons. Aside from the small number of Native Americans whose ancestors have been here for thousands of years, all Americans can only trace their family roots a few generations in this country. Even those who boast that their ancestors came over on the Mayflower are speaking of an event that transpired only a few hundred years ago.
Those early settlers came for economic opportunity, or to escape religious persecution. Their reasons for leaving their homelands were quite similar to the reasons immigrants have today for coming to America. This country was founded to create a haven for people from around the world, to create a safe place where people can be free, yet modern immigrants are somehow viewed with disdain.
The first Europeans in this country are viewed as trailblazers, as adventurers, as brave souls carving out a new nation. Why are the immigrants of today not afforded that same respect? Our families, too, came to this country in search of a better life. Yet we are treated as interlopers, as usurpers, as people sent to dismantle this nation when all we want is to make it our home.
We are told to go back home. We are accused of treason if we dare speak one critical word. Our opinions on politics and current events are derided. We are told that we are too new to this country to understand how it works. We are told that our accents somehow impede our ability to comprehend English.
And yet we too are trailblazers, adventurers, brave souls carving out a community. We are creating a better life for ourselves and for our families, in many cases with far more challenges than those early colonists faced. Just as they survived, so will we.
We will prevail until our people are no longer viewed as foreign upstarts. And we will teach our children to respect immigrants, to remember where their families come from.
We will remind them that all people are deserving of kindness and break the cycle of xenophobia that has long existed in this country.