For some of you, I’m told, our recent presidential elections were difficult and worrisome. You have been living in Ohio these past four years – a state that gave its popular and electoral votes to our new president. As you invited the surrounding community to your graduation, you have inevitably invited people who supported the candidate you were opposed to.
Know that our debate with each other is not simple. None of us are either demons nor angels.
A few years ago, at a time when three states had passed very restrictive immigration laws, the city of Dayton invited the community to engage in conversations to see if we wanted to declare ourselves to be an immigrant- friendly city. Despite the assumption that a tsunami of negativity would descend on us, over a hundred-people self-selected and self-organized to write a statement that was endorsed by our elected officials. This community-led initiative was soon recognized by the White House and the National Chamber of Commerce, among others. Recently, Welcome Dayton, as our immigrant friendly initiative is called, became the first certified welcoming initiative in the country.
posted by Dan Simon