By Mattie Jo Cowsert
Last night, I struck up conversation with my LYFT driver, Mohammad. I learned he was from Egypt, and has been in the United States for over 35 years. “I am a grandpa in America” he says, “And they want to send me back…” He began to tell me about many of his immigrant friends, and how they all work various jobs- Dunkin’ Donuts cashiers, sanitation duty, teachers, etc. “We all need each other” he said. “Why is everyone so afraid?”
As I spoke further with this man, I realized he has more in common with both of my grandfathers from Middle America, than any of my friends in New York City. By all definitions, he is a blue collar family man. He values his family, community, hard work, real human connectedness, and faith -very, very much. Also, right before I got out he said, “Oh Mattie, you are a wonderful girl. Just remember: Never marry a man from New York City. They only want fun.” HA! Too true, Mohammad. Too true…
We need men like Mohammad in this country, and definitely in New York City, to remind us that we need each other.
I guess this post is honestly directed mostly towards my Mid-Western family, and friends who may never have the opportunity to meet wonderful, Egyptian, Muslim men like Mohammad. You share the same wants. The same values. You are so, so similar. And we need each other. Don’t believe in the fear incitement. Believe in what always holds true: sharing stories, compassion, and connection.
“There is only one race, the race of humanity.”