When I look at the stars on the American flag, I see children. I see children I know and children I don’t. I see children who have lived here for generations and I see children who have just arrived… whose real point of entry into this country will be the public schoolroom. I see generations of children with their stories stitched in place against the dark blue background—the color of promise.
On Friday new sand was dumped in the sandbox on the playground at William Fox School. This was a big event for the children who rushed from every corner as whole classes crammed in. As crowded as it was, there was room for everyone. It was citizenship in action. When the children stood up they glittered with this new sand. They sparkled like the stars that they are.
Throughout the year, parents and guests have come to our class to share the customs and traditions of their ancestry. Earlier this year, a speaker from Tanzania helped us see that many American customs (along with much of our music) have roots in Africa. Adriana’s mom shared traditions and music with roots in Eastern Europe and Russia. Last Tuesday Bella’s mom brought in Irish Soda Bread and read Irish stories and poetry to us. Julia’s mom showed us how to make Celtic knots out of paper. On Wednesday, Anna and her father played Irish Music.
On Friday afternoon Xon’s mom came and shared her own very personal “Coming to America” story from Vietnam. She shared a photograph snapped by a Newsweek photographer. We peered at the brave four-year old Vietnamese girl in the picture who grew up to be Xon’s beautiful and gifted mother sitting before us.
As a tapestry of American Diversity emerges in our classroom, we can see that this country is at its best when it is like the sandbox at Fox. People come from all corners. There is room for everyone. And together we glitter like stars.