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Letter: Jamaica, Queens, is future of America

To the editor,

My connections to Grand Forks are extensive. I earned one undergraduate and two graduate degrees from UND. My children all graduated from Grand Forks' high schools and went to college in North Dakota or Minnesota. My vehicles are still registered in North Dakota and I maintain active North Dakota and Minnesota nursing licenses, "just in case."

Keeping with the adage "you go where the work is," I landed in Jamaica, Queens, New York City. According to the federal government, Jamaica, N.Y., is the most racially diverse spot on the planet. Sixty percent of the population were born someplace other than the United States and most speak English as a second language. It is a polyglot in every sense of the word.

Jamaica, Queens, is the future of America, and our future is secure. Why? Because it works.

Jamaica is what the United States was founded to be. America is a land of immigrants. It rewards change and punishes the status quo. Nowhere is this more evident than in Jamaica.

Last semester I had students from Bangladesh, China, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Ghana, Giana, India, Jamaica (the island), Pakistan, Russia, Sri Lanka, and Trinidad and Tobago.

My students represent every major religion on earth — Buddhism, Christianity (Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox), Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism (Orthodox and Reformed). Everyone works together. They all have the same goal: to make America their own.

Despite Trump's nativist tendencies, his views have always been rejected over time. My students are the reason. In 20 years these people will be running the show, and America will be stronger because of it.

Nativism and xenophobia are antithetical to the dream that is America. While Trump's views are nothing new, they are wrongheaded. Since the beginning of recorded history, no superpower has ever been homogeneous. America is no exception. Our greatness is founded in our diversity, not our similarities. America is the greatest country on the face of the earth. It did not become such by building walls and looking inward.

The Lady in New York Harbor was here before Trump and his followers. She will still be there when they are gone. Ideals are transcendent.

Paul Cline

Jamaica, N.Y.

Formerly of Grand Forks