As we gather together with family and friends over food and gratitude this holiday season, it is important to remember what is at the core of our holiday celebrations — love of others.
I have often used this column to articulate the incredible breadth of who our immigrant communities are and also the richness this tapestry of peoples has brought to our great city. But lost in our every day is this recognition, and contrary to many of our experiences, our national rhetoric has led to demonization of our communities. I encourage us this holiday season to take this time to acknowledge each other and ensure we see each other with the dignity we all deserve. To celebrate our fortune to live in a city where we are all New Yorkers and yet we can love and honor our cultural and familial heritage.
Take the time to explore what makes the city tick thanks to our immigrant population. Venture in and outside your neighborhood and experience new things.
Holidays are an excuse to share food and drinks and talk to new people. Grab some kanafeh with new friends on Arabic Language Day on Dec. 18. Sip Puerto Rican eggnog on the 21st during National Coquito Day. Trade your tried-and-true lemon shortbread sweets for some biscotti on the 22nd, National Cookie Exchange Day.
Whatever the reason and no matter the day, explore the cultures that surround us and bask in how lucky we are to have the great diversity of our city. Let’s not take that for granted.
Bitta Mostofi is Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs.