November 23rd, 2015

Unity in Diversity

Like people across the country and beyond, I went to work last week with the events of Beirut and Paris, and all that they represent, very much on my mind. We ran our lunch club as usual on Monday and as I looked around the room of 20 young women, chatting, laughing, playing and eating together, was struck by the diversity that they represented yet how little I or they seemed to notice that. There were young women from Africa, Asia, the middle East, the Caribbean and Europe, Muslim, Christian, agnostic and atheist. But their differences seemed unimportant, in the face of what they shared in common and the friendships that they were enjoying. Various different girls wanted to talk about what happened in Paris, all equally horrified, confused and scared by the tragedy, regardless of their background.

As we respond to events like these, I’m reminded how important it is to know and understand people who are different from us, how we may find there is more that joins than separates us and how unhelpful and divisive it is to judge based on pre-conceptions or generalisations, not truth borne out in experience.