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Free to Be Diverse

Jamaica is my birthplace. Canada, where I grew up, welcomed my family as a place of stability. But, it was here in the United States of America that 41 years ago I discovered an uncommon freedom. Many places on our planet seem stuck in a static state of conformist thinking. People are divided into permanently fixed tribes. Economic mobility is afforded only to the nobility. While far from perfect, the U.S.A. tends to aspire toward equality of opportunity: one people formed from many peoples.

More than a national motto, E pluribus unum is a civic gift. It animates our life together. Though it may seem ironic, seeing the beauty in our demographic diversity can lead us to an enhanced sense of national unity. We are knit together more deeply when we share a common commitment to respect the different fabrics that form our tapestry. Our survival may depend on esteeming perspectives, identities, and experiences not our own.

Yet, it’s not only for surviving, but may lead to thriving. Diversity unites us with ties that make us stronger. For example, take the fact that the U.S.A. is the winningest nation in Olympic Games history. The diversity of Team U.S.A. plays no small part in our success. We excel because of so many different kinds of people with diverse abilities to ski, swim, swing, sweep (curling), somersault, squat, sprint, jump, hurdle, hurl, hit, fence, lunge, plunge, pedal, kick, lift, volley, vault, row, throw, shoot, dive, drive, ride, slide, glide, or bobsled.

I consider myself blessed to reside in the City of Santa Monica. This community is ebullient in its practice of our rare freedoms. As U.S. Americans we value all people; even people different than we are, even the droll curmudgeons (smile) who are free to disagree with every word in this article.

By The Rev. John Arthur Nunes, PhD

The Rev John Arthur Nunes, Pastor, Pilgrim Lutheran Church

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