Brigid - Arlington, Virginia
Entered on February 25, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: tolerance

I believe in acceptance of everyone and everything. I believe that people should strive to accept those around them regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, or sexuality. I have come to believe this through my travels. I spent more than half my life in countries outside of the United States. I call Virginia my home, as well as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Israel and have quite a few experiences in those countries that lead me to believe in acceptance.

If you haven’t put it together yet, I lived in countries that don’t exactly get along with each other. I lived in Saudi Arabia for five years, all of elementary school, and was taught that everyone was different and that was okay. Since I was so young, I thought it was like that everywhere I would go. Little did I know, my past would lead me into conflict where ever I went, whether it was cause I was American, lived in Arab countries, or lived in a Jewish country.

I moved to Israel last. Since I had been so young when I lived in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan I wasn’t as aware of the prejudices and hatred that had been around me. Therefore, a majority of the incidences I understood occurred while I lived in Israel. When I told my new friends that I had lived in Arab countries and loved it, I was bombarded with hateful remarks against Arabs, some even apologized to me for having to live there. The same thing happened when I spoke to old friends I had lived with in Saudi Arabia. My new friends hated my old friends and my old friends hated my new ones and they didn’t even know each other. I found this ridiculous, which is why I decided to volunteer to promote peace. While in Israel I played soccer, basketball, and softball in what was called “peace league.” My school created this and I always took part because it brought together sports teams from ‘Palestine,’ my school, and Israeli schools and offered them a chance to play together in a peaceful environment and hopefully learn that they’re not so different after all.

From my experience, I believe that those who want to accept and learn about others can usually find a way. It is only those who are unable to open their minds up to differences that fail to understand other people. With knowledge comes acceptance, and I believe that acceptance is the most important ability a person should strive for.