We were born in different places,
from the Netherlands to Mexico, from New York to California,
from Grand Rapids to the UP.
We were raised in different families,
a mom and a dad together, a mom or dad alone,
grandparents, foster parents, group home workers,
two moms, two dads, extended families, solitary families.
Some of us received love and affirmation in our families,
Others of us received scorn and abuse,
Most of us received something in between.
We were born at different times, spanning nine decades:
from the 1920’s, to Jim Crow, to the Great Depression,
to the Second World War, to the 1950’s, the wild sixties,
the Reagan years, the Clinton years, social movements toward equality,
and on into the 21st century.
We come from many places: farms, small towns, big cities.
We come from the poorest side of town and the richest.
We were born into homes owned by families for generations.
We were born into apartments where our parents struggled to pay the rent.
We were born into large families with siblings and cousins always around.
We were born into isolated families far from relatives.
Some of us were surrounded by books or didn’t see one until we entered school. Reading came easily to some and some of us were the children who always felt behind.
Some of us were raised in strong rules and religion, some in abstract ethical systems, some of us in no religion.
We come from families that followed rituals and families who rejected rituals. Some of us are enriched with tradition and ritual, some of us do well without it.
We came into the world differently abled: physically, emotionally, temperamentally, different in how we cope and learn and persevere and feel joy.
We came into a time that may not have fit us well. The older among us followed or fought against gender roles: We are gentle men who had to go to war. We are women who wanted to be doctors, architects, pilots, but had no role models to follow.
The younger among us are beginning adult journeys and trying to make families work with parents sharing work and parenting.
We are living alone by choice, by divorce, by widowhood, are living with a spouse, living with a pet, living with a friend, living among friends.
We are, dating, traveling, happy, and sad,
doing work that pleases us, and work we do to get by. We are happy with our lives
and we are full or regrets, and many places in between.
This is our diversity.
And here is our unity: common humanity, human dignity, open inquiry, compassionate action, care for our earth, and care for each other and care for ourselves.