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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Jazzed

I experienced two events this week that made me so pleased to be American. In this era of controversy and constant contention, it made my heart happy to remember the great and wonderful things about this country.

First, an outdoor jazz concert. How wonderful to see hundreds of people gathered to enjoy music that grew and evolved here in America. Experiencing live music with crowds of others enriches the sound. Everyone hears the same thing and interprets a little differently. The quintessential community moment.

Secondly, this morning while helping harvest lettuce as part of my work-share for our CSA, I worked next to two immigrant farmers-in-training. Boushia (that is NOT how her name is spelled) is Chinese and Maria is Hispanic. English is a second language for both women, but they communicated without (outward) frustration, using the words they knew. Then Maria taught Boushia the Spanish words for lettuce and radishes. THIS is the America that I'm proud to live in. These two immigrants from incredibly different countries are both learning skills to increase their economic vitality and do so within the American system. The farmers-in-training at Sunset Farm represent a large diversity of ethnicities. They express their culture at times by growing crops from their country of origin, but all are learning how to grow in the Nebraska climate. In doing so, they join a community of farmers in Nebraska, a community of vendors at the farmers' market, and a community of immigrants that really is a melting pot.

I'm so glad to have these experiences to draw from. When I feel politics and mainstream culture are getting out of hand in a uniquely American way, I will remember that these moments exist as well. Then I can say with a full heart that I'm proud to be an American.

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