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Highlights for February

Kay Collier McLaughlin
People say the darndest things

By Kay Collier McLaughlin

Shortly before my older daughter was to depart for a two-year opportunity to study with the famous violin pedagogue Shinichi Suzuki in Matsumoto, Japan, an acquaintance leaned into my car window in the carpool pickup line and said, “You’ll richly deserve it if she comes home with a slant-eyed husband. Every one of her birthday parties have had the politically correct racial mix!”

The ugliness came roaring back to me recently as news reports magnified the current damnable rhetoric on immigration with accusations and counter accusations, and the drama escalated far beyond the level of carpool lines and personal opinions. There is visceral recall of the stinging pain of those words; of the sadness and the fury I felt at knowing that, despite the world of multiculturalism that so greatly enriched our lives as a family, I could not protect my children or their future children from the kind of hate that would make such a statement, or others like it.

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“Starry, Starry Night” quilt by Pat Merriman.
Artist transforms harrrowing experience into quilted art

By Jerry Hames

Twenty years ago, when she taught Palestinian students in the Gaza Strip on behalf of Michigan’s Marquette University, Patricia Merriman drove a U.N. van to Jerusalem’s Ben Gurion Airport to pick up another faculty member.

When she crossed at the Erez checkpoint, her van was placed on a hoist while white-gloved military searched thoroughly for explosive devices. She described that daylight border crossing as a piece of cake compared to the return trip with her companion.

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