The Statue of Liberty is a universal symbol of freedom and democracy and a welcoming icon for countless immigrants to this country. As an immigrant myself, I have always been touched by Emma Lazarus’s poem The New Colossus that so meaningfully cries
“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!”
History books teach us that this idealistic welcome did always not ring true as many immigration waves were not so easily accepted by the communities they met. Time, patience and understanding went a long way towards correcting that. Did you know that when Lady Liberty was first erected in the New York Harbor that she was as shiny as a new copper penny? It’s true; can you even imagine it? Time and the elements worked on her for 30 years until she developed the beautiful green patina that we all now associate with her. If her caretakers has passionately determined that she should stay the same as she was first made, what would have been the cost in time, money and effort? What lessons can we take from her? To be open-hearted to all who cross our path. That the foundations of this country were build on the ideals of inclusion. To believe that change can be wonderful and look to the promise of the future that all Americans, whether new or old, can build together.