Step out of your comfort zone - Catholic Courier

Step out of your comfort zone

Let’s talk about race.

Of course, the thought of discussing race is just as uncomfortable as talking religion and politics at a dinner party, right?

Merely raising the topic elicits strong reactions, I realized when I shared on Facebook what I thought was a funny video about how non-Latinos speak to Latinos. A family friend seemed quite upset and questioned why I would want to highlight our differences.

But if we don’t even want to talk about race or ethnicity, how can we learn from each other and appreciate and respect our differences? Those kinds of in-depth discussions are exactly what the coordinators of Person2Person, an initiative led by the YWCA, hope will take place when they match 60 volunteers this fall to form one-on-one friendships.

And that is where I think my friend has a point. She never saw my family in a different light because we were Puerto Rican and spoke Spanish. She loved my mother’s cooking, and one of her fondest memories was learning how to count to 100 in Spanish.

She saw our culture in such a positive way because she grew up with it. What about Rochester area residents who never get to engage with any community different than their own?

Even Scripture challenges us to "welcome the stranger." In Paul’s letter to the Romans, he writes, "Welcome one another just as Christ has welcomed you for the glory of God." And in Matthew 25:35: "I was hungry and you fed me; thirsty and you gave me to drink, a stranger and you took me in and welcomed me in your home."

We must heed that call, and step out of our comfort zones and learn from each other. With so much conflict nationally and globally, it is one small way we can create peace.

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