Some of my earliest memories, either real or imagined, came from that bunker. For some reason I remember the light down there as a beautiful emerald green. I remember a cylindrical kerosene heater with pretty blue flames. My dad had been in ROTC and part of a reserve unit, so he knew enough to make a guessing game of estimating the distance and counting down to the boom of mortars.
I keep wondering why our president insists on calling this the “Chinese virus.” I know it’s probably a way to irk and distract people like me (sadly, it really works), but it also seems like a gross attempt to hook the fear of difference that so many Americans grow up with. I feel bad even repeating the phrase. The crazy part of this to me is that difference should be a celebration.
A quick update on how we are doing in this time of rapid change: Probably we are coping about the same way you are—feeling our way along, trying to make good decisions for the right reasons, figuring out how to hold cyber meetings, balancing personal concerns (like helping my daughter move out of her college dorm today) with those of running a business.
We took the picture in our kitchen—our place of hard work and joy. Each face unique, a story behind each pair of eyes. Since the dawn of time, people have fashioned stories to give meaning to their experiences, to explain the unknown, and to keep the darkness at bay. Stories are part of our humanity – each of us so much more than the sum of our individual experiences. They remind us of all we share in common. And for this reason, especially now, they need to be told!
Before that day, I had only read - through secondary sources - the stories and perspectives of refugees… However, to be able to witness firsthand the various narratives from African and Middle Eastern refugees was an experience I will always remember.
Our trainees make an unlikely community. They differ in the languages they speak, the countries where they were born, and the ways they worship. They are women and men, some wearing jeans and others wearing hijabs. Some are college graduates, some never went to school…. Yet here they are caring for each other, supporting each other, sending a message that it is not only possible for people of different races, religions, and backgrounds to work together, but that there is incredible power, energy, and joy in doing so.