My Story: Amidst The Hatred, I Hold The Sign Of “You Belong” For Other Fellow Americans

The Logical Indian

December 1st, 2016 / 10:58 AM

Source: Justin Normand

I’M THE TEXAN WHO HELD THE “YOU BELONG” SIGN IN FRONT OF THE MOSQUE IN IRVING

I have had the most extraordinary weekend.
Like most everyone I know, I have been in a malaise and at a loss since Election Day. What to do? With myself? With my time? To make things better, or even just to slog through?

I manage a sign shop, and so I had had the urge for a week or so to do this. Friday, I had a couple of spare hours in the afternoon, so I did. I made a sign, and I drove to the nearest mosque and stood out on the public sidewalk to share the peace with my neighbors. My marginalized, fearful, decent, targeted, Muslim neighbors. Someone took a picture and posted it, and as of today it’s been viewed millions of times, and shared across various platforms many hundreds of thousands of times. This is extraordinary and humbling; mainly because what I did isn’t (or shouldn’t be) all that extraordinary.

For me, this wasn’t about expressing agreement; I remain Presbyterian, not Muslim.

It wasn’t about demonstrating my outrage to right-wing drivers driving down Esters Road in front of the mosque. I can never, and will never, change any of the haters. It’s not about them. Not this time, and not here. This was about binding up the wounded. About showing compassion and empathy for the hurting and fearful among us. Or, in some Christian traditions, this was about washing my brother’s feet. This was about my religion, not theirs. And, it was about what I think I must do as an American when our way of life is threatened. Targeting people for their religion not only threatens our way of life, it is the polar opposite of our way of life.

Find a group marginalized by the haters in this current era we find ourselves in. Then, find a way to express your acceptance to that group in a physically present way, as opposed to a digital one. I can assure you, from their outpouring of smiles, hugs, tears, hospitality, messages extending God’s love, and a bouquet of flowers, it will mean a lot.

My own religious tradition ascribes these words to my deity:
I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.

It is also in this vein that the words on the Statue of Liberty embrace, with eagerness and mercy, all who come to join us:

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

These words bespeak the America we all remember, know, love, and are still called upon to be. Especially now. Lastly, it worked. I felt better for the impact it had on my neighbors. They genuinely needed this encouragement. They need us. They need all of us. They need you.

We ARE one America.


Contributors

Written by :

Edited by :

Related Stories

Former Navy Chief Admiral Ramdas Letter

“Stop Hatred Being Spread By Media”: Admiral (Retd) Ramdas Had Warned In His Letter To President Post Pulwama Attack

Abhijit Iyer-Mitra

Satire On Konark Temple; SC Says ‘Your Comments Incite Religious Hatred’ & Rejects Journalist’s Bail Plea

While Tonnes Of Illegal GM Seed Import Takes Place Into India, Regulators Pass Buck To Each Other & Other Ministries

Fake News

Spreading Hatred In The Name Of Celebrities: Farhan Akhtar, Swara Bhaskar & Nana Patekar Targeted

An Old Picture From Palestine Is Used To Create Communal Hatred Among Hindus And Muslims

Gau Raksha

PM Narendra Modi Again Condemns Violence And Hatred Spread In The Name Of ‘Gau Raksha’

Latest on The Logical Indian

News

Maharashtra ‘Plans’ First Detention Centre In Navi Mumbai, More States To Follow

World Affairs

‘Will Go Nuclear’, Pak PM Imran Khan Warns India, Muslim Nations Ask To Tone Down Rhetoric

News

Air India Posts Rs. 4600 Crore Operating Loss in 2018-19 Due To High Oil Prices, Aims Profit This Fiscal Year

Health

From Losing Her Husband To Healing Hundreds Of Others, Dimple Parmar Is A Ray Of Hope For All Cancer Patients

News

Rajasthan Transport Authorities Cancel Dead Man’s Driving License

World Affairs

Oil Prices Soar By 10% After Attacks On Saudi Reserves

x

Stories that deserve attention, delivered to your inbox!

Handpicked, newsworthy stories which deserve the attention of a rational generation.