Who do we want to be? Sue Schade considers why it's critical to embrace diversity

This week we all grieve for the families and victims in Orlando.

During the fall as a US presidential candidate repeatedly talked about building a wall along the Mexican border, my post “Build bridges, not walls” was a message about the importance of embracing diversity. In that post, I quoted a church hymn that really struck home for me. “Our World is One World” by Cecily Taylor included this verse:

Our world is one world, the thoughts we think affect us all. The way we build our attitudes, with love or hate, we make a bridge or wall.

I closed that post with this statement: “Let’s continue to work together to build the kind of world we want for our children and grandchildren and generations to come.”

My fourth grandchild is due next week. I look forward to holding this new baby and welcoming him into our family. I am busily crocheting his baby blanket trying to get it done in time. While I crochet at night, I watch hours of television news about the worst mass shooting in US history – 49 people were killed in a gay nightclub, a place they considered safe and welcoming.

My maternal grandparents were born in Slovenia and came to the United States as immigrants in the early 1900’s. My grandfather was one of 11 children. One of his sisters had 10 children; two of her sons and one of her son-in-laws were rounded up and executed along with 30 others in their Slovenian village by the Fascists in 1942. They were my mother’s cousins. Their children are my second cousins. My brother and sister-in-law recently visited Slovenia and this part of our family. They shared stories and pictures from the many small villages of that beautiful country. Through those stories I learned of the atrocities my relatives back in the “old country” experienced.

If your family immigrated from Europe you too may have a horrific story. If your family immigrated from another part of the world, there may be equally horrific stories or worse.

This week we are grieving for the families and victims in Orlando. We are standing with the LGBT community and with our Muslim neighbors and colleagues.  We must stop the hate and the violence. That is not who we hope to be.

Like other health care workers, I am required to go through training about how to deal with an active shooter situation. There have been numerous shootings in hospitals targeted at an individual. But how do you train people to deal with someone who has an automatic weapon? As another presidential candidate has said this week, weapons of war do not belong on our streets.

We need to stop the violence and hate, ban automatic weapons, and take measured steps on gun control. This violence and hate is not who we intend to be as Americans. For my entire professional career, I have worked in health care; we take care of people and we save lives. That is who we are – a welcoming and caring people.

Blog originally posted on www.sueschade.com.

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