In Your Neighborhood/Opinion

Being neighborly

A reminder of what really matters

Photo by Mary Ann Sorrentino

A billboard in the French city of Strasbourg, which proclaimed "no" to anti-Semitism and all forms of racism and the ejection of "the other."

By Mary Ann Sorrentino
Posted 7/27/20

CRANSTON – Last summer, when traveling east of Paris toward the German border for a day, I was inspired by a billboard in the French city of Strasbourg, whose Lower Rhine local government boldly proclaimed: “The Lower Rhine says NO to anti-Semitism and all forms of racism and the rejection of ‘the other.’ ”

How inspirational, how necessary, how brave. How simply moving that a local government would take the time to remind a small city, a whole country, and the entire planet of what really matters and what true peace depends upon.

My eyes filled with tears when I read that billboard. Remembering it today, as women of color – also members of Congress – are told by our President that they should: “Go back to where you came from.”

I long for the America that led the way in defending diversity, asylum and our immigrant heritage as a nation. And I wonder when or if that America will ever take the lead again.

Mary Ann Sorrentino [thatmaryann@yahoo.com] writes from Cranston. A version of this commentary appeared in The Providence Journal.

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