An Introduction by Joe Rueff
We had a great lesson Saturday in Goshen, IN, where I’m currently residing. A lesson in celebrating diversity, a lesson in developing friendships, a lesson in bringing people together.
The lesson wasn’t taught in classrooms. It wasn’t even based on academics. It came instead from the hearts, the labors, and the concerns of a group of factory workers who just happen to be Hispanic. They don’t even speak English as yet, but they thought it was time everyone got to know each other better. They decided to do something about it.
What was their theme? A celebration of the start of another school year! So Saturday morning several hundred families representing many different ethnic groups – Latinos, Anglos, Asians, and others — started at Goshen Middle School and then, walking the scenic pathway along a canal from the school to downtown, ended up at a mammoth block party for dancing, singing and eating. Along the way were several stops where families received health related information.
The block party featured booths with food from many cultures, Mexican, Colombian, Bolivian, and others. Proceeds are going to the Center for Healing and Hope which offers health care to low income families.
Zulma Prieto, editor of El Puente, the major Hispanic newspaper in the region, and who has a featured article in this issue of Eye2theWorld, summed up the event: “They are all factory workers, and after very long hours at work they have done this. This is the first time that Hispanics were doing the leading and everyone else joined in. They took the initiative to bring the city together.”
September 15 marks the start of National Hispanic Heritage Month. Perhaps it should mark the beginning of much more – an opportunity for all of us regardless where we live – to welcome those new to our communities, and reach to learn from each other. Let’s remember that famous Chinese proverb: “Tell me, I forget; show me, I remember; involve me, I understand.” Let’s get involved with each other!