My thoughts on Diversity Day



Commentary by Angela Johnson
SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany


8/20/2010 - SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- I grew up in a small, Midwestern town. It was rural and homogenous - kind of boring, really. There was one African-American family in my school system and two families with a Latin background, possibly Mexican but maybe Puerto Rican. Unfortunately, I didn't know enough at the time to ask. It wasn't until I went to college that I met anyone who was Catholic, since Protestants were the norm in Northern Indiana. Not until I moved to Phoenix did I start to meet people born in different countries, with different abilities or from different religions.

My horizons were further expanded on the job. I worked with professionals who used a wheelchair, a scooter, a cane or a service animal. I also had several female mentors who were successful in typically male professions. My social circle then expanded to include people born in Egypt and Bulgaria, India and the Dominican Republic, Chile and China. I attended a Jewish Sader and visited a New Age church. When my husband and I had the opportunity to move to Europe, it was a dream come true. We planned to visit every country on the continent and then branch out even further if the funds allowed.

Now we have a young daughter, and we would very much like for her to grow up knowing people from diverse backgrounds, with unique experiences to share and appreciate everyone and all cultures. This makes life so much more enjoyable.

Last year I volunteered for Diversity Day because it sounded like an interesting diversion from the usual lunch-at-the-club-for-a-special-interest-group-celebration. It lived up to my expectations in some unexpected ways. I was able to meet very interesting people and, through committee work, hear their personal stories. In the process I learned that I wasn't always as open-minded as I would like to be. I still have much work to do. That's why I'm back for year two of Diversity Day.

Maybe you would like to meet some different people, enjoy entertaining performances and try some tasty treats. If so, join the Spangdahlem community at Club Eifel on Aug. 26 from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.