Learn to live together, as one
I've attended meetings for H-2A housing for farm workers, and although I don't seem to understand all the problems associated with this program, one of the most contentious is regarding their acceptance in our residential neighborhoods, despite the fact they are here legally, are important and absolutely necessary, extremely hard-working, have been thoroughly vetted, and have shown no inclination toward criminal activity.
In other words, the kind of immigrant that should be a pleasure to have in the United States. The problem is they are not invested in the neighborhoods in which they live, and they do not participate in normal neighborhood activities, but for them to be made to feel unwelcome is disheartening.
Perhaps the neighborhood could invest in them. Maybe provide a welcome-to-the-neighborhood barbecue, ask about their hometown or the family they've left behind and won't see for months — all to earn enough money for a fraction of what we already have.
It is so often found that no matter what our differences, we all share the same joys and concerns and when we get to know each other, and can come to appreciate that common bond.
At the same time, learning about the different customs of those from other countries can be fun and interesting as well. In addition, when we invest in each other, we grow as individuals and as a community. We can discuss problems and find solutions.
Let's welcome and enjoy the good people the H-2A program is bringing to Santa Maria.
'Santa' shares delight in Parade of Lights
It was truly my delight to once again be a part of the annual Rotary Parade of Lights on Saturday, Dec. 1. As I anticipated coming down from the North Pole and leaving all my elves working hard on completing all the presents I will deliver throughout the world on Christmas Eve, I couldn’t have been more overjoyed when I saw all the boys and girls, moms and dads, aunts and uncles, and the community and surrounding areas of Santa Maria come together for an evening of fun and delight.
I want to thank Mike Gibson and Dave Wright for their continuous labor of love in bringing together three Rotary Clubs and all the people who worked behind the scenes to make this evening such a wonderland of music, dance, lights, hot chocolate (my favorite drink), the leaders of the city of Santa Maria, the police officers, the Explorer posts, and the fire personnel who gave me one of the most comfortable seats in the parade.
As I looked down and saw all the smiling faces, and the cheers of Christmas, my heart was warmed by the true spirit of this season. We are not measured by the color of our skin, or the amount of money we have in our pockets, or the kind of house we live in, or the churches we attend, or the schools we attend.
We are measured, however, by how we respect and care for one another. What I witnessed was a tremendous outreach from the Santa Maria Valley in standing next to each other, sharing cheer and goodwill, and embracing the true spirit of the Christmas season.
Thank you to all. And to all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
A friend of Santa Claus