The Rochester International Association has a long and valued history of welcoming, promoting and celebrating the ethnically diverse population that contributes to life in Rochester.
Our Board represents communities from Mexico, Europe, India, Pakistan, Africa, Philippines, China and America, including our first Native American board member. The current Board comprises eight females and six males.
Through our World Festival, film series and year-round activities, we celebrate the diversity of our City and the expressions of culture that diversity brings.
The recent election campaign, with its disparaging commentary on many minority groups, who have made America their home and contribute to its cultural and economic life, has had a ripple effect through those communities. They are fearful that they will be targeted, as many of them have been, as “rapists”, “terrorists”, “illegal” or “immigrants”. Their personal safety feels threatened; the safety of their children feels threatened; the safety of their community feels threatened.
In addition, the campaign rhetoric of the President elect has also denigrated African-Americans, the LGBTQ community, women and the disabled. The threat of the rolling back of equity in the eyes of the law for these, and other groups, is very real and is causing real fear and anxiety. Add into this the appalling treatment of Native Americans protecting our waters and our environment.
Our mission, as the Rochester International Association, is cultural exchange and education. It is about celebrating and protecting diversity, in all its forms, and embracing our differences, not vilifying them.
As a consequence of the fear-mongering, the racism, the sexism, we are already experiencing an upsurge of hateful acts; graffiti and chanting in schools; graffiti on walls and cars; individual, personal attacks and verbal abuse.
We condemn these outright!! We urge those with the power to do so, to stop these attacks! We urge those communities who feel threatened to come together, support each other in friendship and common humanity. The Rochester International Association will do what is in its power to foster community, diversity, humanity and equity in this City.
This is a nation whose founding ideals are among the best in the World. Those ideals need to be lived up to now, as much as at any time before!
Rochester International Association