Welcoming Immigrants, Embracing Cultures

October 10/2015


Martha Richards, Senior Strategist for Women Artists in the USDAC National Cabinet

The news is full of stories about refugees these days, and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees has reported that there are over 60 million refugees worldwide—that’s one out of every 122 people on the planet.

The refugees shown in the newspapers are usually carrying one suitcase or less in their hands, but I wonder what songs, stories and cultural traditions are they carrying in their heads? When they are trudging along the dusty roads or sailing the treacherous seas, do they still have moments when they remember the voices of their favorite performers, the architecture of the buildings they love, or stories their parents told them?

I dare to imagine that the United States will start welcoming immigrants to our shores, and we will embrace their cultures as well as the people. We will provide funding so that diverse art forms and traditions can flourish because we will recognize that no one is complete without their cultural heritage. Also, I dare to imagine that we will find ways to use the arts to build cross-cultural understanding and lasting international peace.