From its very inception, the privilege of citizenship in the United States of America has been denied to group after group, based on race and religion. African Americans were not granted citizenship until 1868, four years after the Emancipation Proclamation. Native Americans were not granted citizenship until 1924. Chinese immigrants were not allowed citizenship until 1943. We have turned away people after people who have sought refuge and opportunity. Now our leaders have chosen to vilify Muslims fleeing massacre and Latin Americans fleeing unbearable violence. They seek a better life for their children.

We as citizens can choose to better live the highest of our American values; “that all men are created equal.” Through our individual actions and with compassion we can stitch our country into a tapestry of great strength and beauty. Through our votes and by encouraging fact-based civil dialogue, we can mend the tears in the fabric of our society.