My father came to America from Iran in the early 80s because he knew it was a safe place where he could be fully himself and pursue his dreams.
After working odd jobs to make ends meet, he went on to start his own business and contribute to the economy. He is a Muslim.
Eventually he met my mother, an American Christian who was raised by a mother with Norwegian roots and a father from the deep south in Alabama.
These two wonderfully diverse people came together and made me 🙂
I know my story is not unique; it is a part of the greater American story.
Many of you have come or, like me, have parents who came from all over the world to the United States, a safe haven of equality, freedom and opportunity–a place where dreams become reality–a place where we can bring our complete selves to whatever we do.
Yes terrorism is a major problem for all of humanity. We should do everything in our power to address it swiftly and with strength.
But I’m convinced that the solution isn’t to isolate ourselves and ban people like my father from crossing our boarders. That will only incite more outrage and fear and fuel the flames of violence and extremism.
Rather, we should collaborate with the more than one billion peaceful, hard-working and real Muslims around the world to find solutions together.
Because history teaches us that it is only when we translate our common values into collective action–regardless of our religion, race or creed–that we create lasting change.
Above is a video of when I had the privilege of sharing my story at a church in Texas where we gathered 2,500 Muslims and Christians not as a way to water down our faiths but to put them into practice as peacemakers in an increasingly interconnected world.
What’s your story of diversity?