My story is not an uncommon one, but it is mine.
My mother is second generation born in here from Armenian immigrants. My father traces his roots for hundreds of years in Virginia. I cannot imagine anything more Virginian or American. So much so that my mother, Virginia, was named after her aunt the second child born of this immigrant family in Richmond, Virginia in the 1920’s.
One of my favorite stories about my parents coming together was the strong discontent in both of their families. For my mother, dating an America boy was unheard of, she was expected to marry an Armenian. For my father dating a ‘foreigner’, to put it politely, was a disgrace.
It was my mother’s grandmother who made peace in her family by remembering her own values. She was a girl from a rural community in Armenian, my father was from a rural community in southwest Virginia…kind of the same right…? Her everlasting words were that ‘he’s a good country boy’, and that was that, the matriarch had spoken, he was accepted.
Funny that I also married a country girl, a Virginia country girl.
More than anything that story tells me that to find the beauty in diversity we much find common ground first. Diversity & commonality are not mutually exclusive, I believe they must coexist for each to thrive.
That theme has stuck with me, and my values have become core to my being. Most importantly I value the balance & duality in life, I believe that ultimately reflects the diversity & unity that was central to my upbringing. Its a value that I work at every day & for me says everything about diversity – always seeking other perspectives & finding ways to pull the best of the best together in a solution.
Editor’s note: Want to learn more about how the 2019 Commemoration is highlighting the diverse contributions of America’s three founding cultures? Don’t miss the 1619: Making of America Summit.