Together, we rise.

I had a conversation with my friend the other day while walking around Fort Lauderdale beach. We ran into someone visiting town who asked us about the local area and was speaking with what I gather was implicit bias (hidden even to himself) about some of the local people. When we parted ways, my friend and I discussed that what he saw as a fault was exactly what we loved so much about living in South Florida, surrounded by and ourselves being people of diverse backgrounds, cultures, and subcultures.

The beauty of the culture in my community shines through as we continue to accept people from all over the world, doing the morally right thing with integrity. People joke that South Florida is so different from the rest of Florida and the U.S.; it’s like it’s own country!

I have dear friends descended from immigrants fleeing genocide in Cambodia, fleeing political and social unrest in Cuba, fleeing Europe during WWII, my own grandmothers’ and grandfathers’ parents leaving Poland and Ireland at the turn of the last century to find work and create better lives, which I get to reap the benefits of. I get to have lunch, bounce ideas off, and work alongside strong, beautiful people whose families risked everything to get them here at a time before social media and FaceTime could keep them connected to people back home, if people back home survived. I am a better person because of this, and that’s just what I love about it here.

I hope the culture I grew up with and South Florida’s history as a refuge for those risking everything in hopes of a better life continues to be a beacon of hope and light for all of our families who came here looking for the promise of a bright future, and those yet to come. Together, we rise.

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