I would like to write you a few words and hope you will take a few minutes of your busy day do read them. I have a few things to say to you.
I am an immigrant. I may have come from so many different places in the world to gather in this great country called Canada. And I brought something with me: my culture. All the things my people have been creating and performing for so much time. Everything that makes me be who I am. The food I grew up eating and loving. The music I hear and sing. The poetry and the books I read and write. The clothes I wear. My hairstyle. My religion. My family. My friends. My education. My work.
My culture is precious for me. It is actually part of me and I am proud of it. I like to learn about it. I like to gather with my people and celebrate my culture whenever I can.
I am aware that I came to a country that was not originally mine and where there is an established culture that I must respect and learn. I am willing to do it, but I simply can’t forget who I am and hope never have to do it here. I heard that this is officially a multicultural country that is officially open to cultural pluralism and where I have the right to preserve, enhance and share my cultural heritage and to participate on all aspects of Canadian society as an equal. Culture never stops to change and incorporate new things. I am part of those movements.
But from what I see and experience every day, I have a simple question for you.
Are you ready for me?
I understand that we are all humans and make mistakes. However, we all should make a commitment to learn from our mistakes and try to be better people as we grow.
And, dear Canadian, it is very important that you get ready for me as much as I get myself ready for you. You are blessed with a society where it seems that every culture in this world is represented. You don’t need to go very far for learning so many new things. Of course you don’t have to, it’s a choice. But those of you who want to come closer may have the chance to gain a lot. If you come with an open heart, I am here.
I am ready to be part of a great Canada where I can learn and share. Where I can be a Canadian, but I can be myself. And where you Canadian can get to know me, give me opportunities to grow and contribute with my knowledge and skills, and respect me as much as I respect you.
I will do my best to stand on guard for thee, but I will stand on guard for me as well. I will not let you ignore me and my culture, call names or let me down because you don’t know who I am. I will do my best to show myself to you and give you this chance. Because now I am Canada. We are all Canada.
So see me. Feel me. Touch me. Heal me. I am here, right in front of you, with a smile on my face and my arms wide open to embrace you. And I hope you open your arms to me.