When walking in my neighborhood, I try to make eye contact with every person I pass and greet them. This embarrasses the boys that their mother acknowledges strangers. They often ask, did I know that person after we've walked passed them. Even in our neighborhood that can feel like a small town, most of the people we pass are strangers. I'm surprised the boys still ask the question because they know the answer by now and they know why I'm adamant about this habit. By acknowledging and greeting everyone on the street, it is a way to notice that we, as human beings, are sharing this one moment with another human being. A moment where we breath the same air and our feet connect to the earth through the same slip of pavement. A moment where we see each other and even with many differences between us recognize each others' humanity.
Lately I've been indulging in escapism fantasies - sell everything, buy a van, travel around in homeschooling the boys or maybe move to Toronto, my professional home for the most of the last decade, and start over there with the dreamy Justin Trudeau as our leader, universal access to health care, enlightened immigration policies, and good public schools. These are nice places to visit in my imagination but they don't compare to Philadelphia. We'll weather these four years here in our diverse city where the boys will grow up understanding and recognizing the humanity of others. There is a reason, cities and diverse counties voted 2-1 for Hillary Clinton. When your classmates, friends and neighbors are black, gay, muslim, or Mexican, you do not accept lazy stereotypes or allow them to be turned into a hated "other" for political purposes. It is a given that their rights are just as important as yours.
So we'll stay planted right here. Saying good morning to our diverse neighbors - daily acknowledging each others' humanity.