A couple weeks ago, I wrote about how important it is to find faces of people who represent what we fear or hate. Putting faces to our biases often gives us the opportunity to develop empathy and compassion. Since I wrote that post, the world seems to have fallen off its axis of humanity. We need more faces.
So I collected a couple of stories with faces.
Representative Mike Honda, who was raised in a Japanese internment camp.
An Omaha man’s story of leaving Syria–and why he left.
A reminder that we’ve been here before with a refugee crisis…and apparently we are behaving in quite a similar fashion as we did 75 years ago.
And if you’ve never read Mary Pipher’s marvelous book “The Middle of Everywhere,” you should. Compassion, empathy, perspective…it’s all there.
Since Friday’s Paris attacks and the ensuing xenophobia, my mind has been firmly fixed on my 2nd great-grandfather, Hyman Gindich. He fled religious persecution in 1906. He was Jewish. Russians weren’t too keen on Jews. He made it to the U.S. with his wife and seven children.
What would’ve happened to my entire family tree had Hyman’s family waited 30 years to make it to America? Would they have made it out of Europe? And even so, would they have been turned away at America’s doors?
I get the need for national security. I get that we live in a different time now than we did pre-World War II. I get that fear and misinformation is so much easier to glom on to than education and understanding.
Yet again, I find myself looking for faces, for people who have real stories of fear and unrest seeking the tiniest hope of peace. I hope when those people start arriving, I am able to help provide some peace.