On Wednesday, Pope Francis led an inspiring launch of #SharetheJourney, a global, two-year campaign in support of migrants and refugees. He opened his arms wide in a loving gesture and said, “Christ urges us to welcome our brothers and sisters with our arms truly open, ready for a sincere embrace, a loving and enveloping embrace.”
Migrants and refugees are not after our jobs, our lives or our culture. They are looking with hope toward a brighter future for their families in collaboration and with integration into their new homeland; just as my ancestors sought the same in the mid-1700’s. Their plight is little different from those in my family who fled war, persecution and economic hardship almost three hundred years ago.
It is not always easy to see, but immigrants and refugees have always added rather than detracted from their new homelands. That is an indisputable fact. Together you and I can challenge negative myths and perceptions regarding migrants and refugees by sharing stories, meeting migrants and refugees and finding our common ground, our shared humanity. Let’s open our arms to them, welcome their gifts and contributions, and the diversity they bring.
That diversity is beautiful. Nature is full of diversity, if you oppose it, you will find yourself heading against an irresistible force that has driven humankind and nature since the very beginning of our existence.
So, open your arms to those seeking a better life for themselves and their children. It is congruent with who we are and who we hope to be as an honorable, dignified and respectable people. Peace!