Embracing our Diversity- Perseverance and Hope in Turbulent Times
These are undoubtedly turbulent times in our society.
I do not wish to make political statements, but we all need to acknowledge the reality that there is a sanctioned increased wave of ethnocentrism, xenophobia, intolerance, racism, blaming the poor, and even hatred toward anyone who is different. In fact, there is a disturbing increase in documented hate crimes in recent months.
We serve a very high percentage of those who see this, and hear this, and who will experience this shift toward bigotry each day. They are often poor and powerless. Foreigners, Blacks, Hispanics, non-Christians, the Poor, and LGBT groups are in an extremely vulnerable position right now.
It is our job as social workers to be stewards and advocates and safeguards of justice and integrity for all.
As we are a diverse staff here at The Center for Youth and Family Solutions (CYFS), and we are serving the poor who are often vilified, we also experience this increased context of intolerance.
We have recently had staff experience direct acts of likely racially based violent threats. There are new regulatory actions taking place which threaten caring staff with removal who are here legally from simply being able to remain here and serve others in their community.
We stand by each other in the face of injustice and most of all for those we serve who are no doubt confused and frightened at the world right now.
My story is no different than most of you reading this. We all came from immigrant families. I grew up poor, and my parent’s families were extremely poor. My Dad’s family were Irish immigrants and he grew up in the housing projects of NYC and left home at 16. My mother’s family of ten kids came from Mexico and they lived in a boxcar on the tracks in Silvis. But they worked hard and made a life for themselves and their children in a country that embraced diversity and opportunity for those willing to contribute to a better society.
We are not turning back. This is a country of hope and opportunity for all.
We will be there for each other and the most vulnerable that we serve each day.
If you didn’t see the full version of this ad/short movie from last night by 84 Lumber – it is worth watching.
It was banned on TV. Not surprising as this is a complicated and contentious issue.
It is a message of perseverance and hope and we must find a way to remain that beacon of light for all who come in good will.
The forces of justice and tolerance will fight back and prevail.
America will survive this page in our history, and we will continue to embrace the very diversity that has made us such a great nation.
About The Author
Tony Riordan, MS. Ed., LMFT, is Chief Operating Officer for The Center for Youth and Family Solutions (CYFS). He has been a social worker, licensed marriage and family therapist, trainer, and administrator in community based nonprofit child and family service agencies since 1978.