Immigrant Heritage Month

June is Immigrant Heritage Month, and you know what? Sometimes it’s easy to forget. Sometimes we aren’t given a straight answer as to why things are the way they are. Sometimes we forget that our heritage, the roots from which our families were built, and how they’ve grown and progressed, is beautiful. Our country is divided – pro-immigrant or against them. Those against them generally like to argue that they have been living in the United States for centuries. But they forget. They forget that their ancestors came here long ago. At the start of the colonization of North America, their great, great ancestors were immigrants. They may not be directly an immigrant, but they come from an immigrant past, and that is something to remember and to celebrate.

Let’s celebrate the immigrant roots that came here from the Mayflower escaping religious prosecution. Let’s remember those that were taken from their homes and families and forced to build this country on their backs. Let’s celebrate our families that keep striving to move forward every day as they come from Mexico, to Uruguay. From Afghanistan to the Ukraine. From Canada to Nigeria to the United Kingdom to Japan and all over this world. We are all descendants of immigrants unless you are Native American, plain and simple. 

Current immigrants, whether documented or not, are still people living in this country and contributing to this society every day. They can be a classmate or the old woman on the street trying to hand you a flyer because at least that helps her bring food back home. It can be your coworker that keeps working hard for that promotion while also trying to become a citizen, or that kid in the playground that doesn’t remember what their home country looks like – because to them this is all they know, this is home. Let’s stop this negative connotation of immigrants when this country is supposed to be celebrated as a “melting pot”. We cannot keep spewing hate for people simply trying to survive and succeed. Who are we to deny someone their right to live without fear? Who are we to deny someone the right to build a family and dreams?

We have a month to spread awareness of our heritage but we should be celebrating our immigrant roots every day. We should be remembering our grandparents and parents that came to this country seeking a better life.

We have to celebrate what this country really is;

Founded by immigrants, built by immigrants, maintained by immigrants.