Build bridges of understanding

All four of my grandparents came from Slovenia to a land which offered them an opportunity to better their lives.

My ex-husband’s grandparents came from Russia and Hungary. He was Jewish, and I was Catholic, and we married in a Quaker ceremony.

Our son is a blend of both these traditions. Our daughter came to us from Korea and added to the diversity of our family.

The products of my son’s marriage are a granddaughter who is white/hispanic and an adopted grandson who is Native American/white. My daughter’s two children are Asian/white.

My husband of 24-plus years is black/white/Native American. And we are Baha’is.

So, in my family and its extensions are white, black, Asian, hispanic and Native American. Our beliefs are Jewish, Catholic, Christian and Baha’i.

Bottom line: My family is a microcosm of America, and I love each and every unique individual.

Technically, the only two individuals in my family who can claim roots on this continent are my Native American/white grandson, and my husband, who has Native-American blood in his veins.

But in my mind, there is room for all of us here in the United States.

Our country has gone through dark periods in our past and now faces challenges in the present.

Slovenes, Russians and Hungarians were “hunkies” who came to steal American jobs. Jews and Catholics were apostates, heretics, idol worshipers. Hispanics and Asians represented the “other.”

And of course, blacks and Native Americans were disparaged.

Over a century ago, one of our presidents said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

There are differences of perspective and opinion in my family. We do not agree on many things, but there are bonds of love that hold us together.

No matter our differences as Americans, I am convinced that we all love our country. The ways we express that love are different, but it is the foundation of our allegiance to the United States of America.

We have met and overcome challenges in the past. So I am convinced that we can build bridges of understanding, and break down the barriers that divide us now, before our divided house falls.

Karen Sadar Watt