Build bridges, not walls. We grow rich from diversity.

“Love trumps hate,” the protesters’ signs say. But sadly, fear closes hearts and ignorance breeds contempt.

America is a nation grown rich from its diversity, its wealth of variations in cultures, religions, lifestyles, viewpoints and beliefs. That is our strength. It’s who we are. And as we grow more so over time, we should be eagerly opening up and building bridges to understanding, nurturing community–not building walls and closing doors. Hate won’t make us great. It will make us lose our soul.

In such challenging, even chaotic times, these words of Robert Kennedy are good to keep in mind:

quote-robert-kennedy-when-you-teach-hate

I am reminded that Robert Kennedy was assassinated, like his brother, President John F. Kennedy before him, in his prime. I felt deep respect–in fact, love–for these two men. They inspired me as a young person to open my heart and mind to “meet” all people with an expectation of commonality beneath differences and belief in a wondrous possibility of shared gifts. The deep sadness I felt at their loss still lingers. I was in high school when the world lost JFK, and it was the tumultuous year of 1968 when, at the Democratic Convention, RFK was shot and killed.

My novel, The Flying Girl, begins in 1968, a time so much like now. No wonder these words of Robert Kennedy ring as true today as then.

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