From the perspective of an immigrant and a proud American, I want to say that I am hopeful. This point in American history is one of progress. We are talking about some of the most important social issues - race, humanitarianism, religion, equality, etc... These were issues that ten or fifteen years ago were locked away, considered by some as "solved." This year has been one of discussion and action. That gives me great hope!
When I came to America 17 year ago, in July 2001, I was determined to be a contributing member of this beautiful society. As a 16 year old "Lost Boy," my deepest desire was to work hard for a better life and to embrace American values. America was more than a country to me - it was hope. The idea of the American Melting Pot - that from diversity we find strength - is admired across the world. This experiment in democracy and cultural diversity has made the idea of "America" an aspirational one. Every country around the world, from the largest to the youngest nations, respect to the ideal of America. Proud citizen's of all the world's nations, still hold admiration for the pure vision of America, a land of immigrants.
Today, we are discussing hard issues and that is a wonderful thing. I challenge everyone to sit down together at a round table and keep the discussion moving forward. We grow more complex, more capable, more innovative through these powerful dialogues. It is OK not to agree - in fact it is great - because then we have the chance to stand in another person's shoes, understand their story, and grow.
Let's keep talking about challenging issues, let's keep strengthening idea of America, and let's keep doing acts of hope and love!