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Diversity is strong point in our community
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Editor, While reading the Sound off column in the April 1 and 10 editions of the Coastal Courier, I was taken aback by the comments regarding the owners and employees of the local convenience stores and hotels.
The readers stated that the people at the convenience stores are “non-American speaking (we speak English, not American!) illegal aliens” and that “they should go back to wherever it is that they come from and let us Americans have the jobs.”
Ignorance is bliss. This attitude in a community as diverse as Liberty County is almost a crime, and is definitely a shame.
Just because a person’s English is not too clear, (plenty of Americans can’t put a proper sentence together) or because their skin is a different shade of brown, or their cloths are not the norm; is not indication that they are “illegal aliens.” That’s just lack of diversity education, or education period.
If more “Americans” had the will power to make it in this country, maybe more convenience stores and hotels would be owned and operated here by “Americans.” Maybe if we had a stronger sense of family values and worked together for a common economic goal, we would not only see a more cohesive family, but a financially well off family as well.
Does anyone have an idea of how much it costs to own and operate convenience store or hotel? Or how much money one invests in the United States for the right to be here. And how do we know that they are “illegal aliens?” To own a business in America, one’s legal status has to be confirmed. Let’s not assume anything without facts to back it up.
It seems that we sometimes forget our history lessons as Americans. Our country was founded on the promise of civil liberties and guaranteed basic rights. Rights guaranteed whether we are native born or naturalized. Regardless of the fact, we are all Americans who contribute to our complex yet powerful nation.
Let’s not forget the generations of American soldiers, of all ethnicities, who have fought and died to maintain these rights and liberties, who have spread our ideals and values across the globe.
Let’s not allow our fears or preconceived notions to consume our common sense and basic decency for our fellow human beings. Instead of concentrating on the differences of other people, let’s try to focus on our similarities and strengthen our communities.
I, for one, am looking forward to the Small World Festival on May 16. I am also hoping that the various ethnic communities will come out in strength and participate so that we may all experience and learn about our neighbors and their cultures and customs.
By the way, there are several convenience stores accepting applications, have you thought about a job at one of them?

Brenda C. Bautista
B.C. Bautista and Associates
Multilingual Solutions for a Multicultural World
Cross- Cultural and Diversity Training Consultants
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