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Why America Needs Refugees

A few months ago, I was moved by a young girl skipping rope in a refugee apartment complex in Denver.

While she and her family may be struggling daily in ways that I can’t understand because of my unsolicited abundant life, they have changed the life of my friend Molly. Not only her life, but those of the people around her, like me. I’m still blinking in disbelief because I so often choose to close my eyes and the light is only going to keep streaming in.

enjoy this reblog:

mojoy1494

Yesterday, I went back to visit my former apartments. The beauty and chaos of the 3-tiered brick-on-concrete low-income-housing buildings located right off the intersection of Colfax Avenue and Route 225.

Sandwiched between streets that have only letters for names, construction projects, and strip malls with cell phone stores, liquor marts, and fast-food joints are the Shadow Tree Apartments.

I suppose the name comes from the few scraggily evergreen trees clinging to life in the middle of the cement  courtyards of “A” and “B” buildings.

I haven’t visited often this past year. Not as often as I’ve wanted to, and certainly not as often as I’ve thought to.

There was the time I showed up with bags of items to drop off that were given to me by my sister’s former roommate (the contents of which were quickly claimed and made new homes to grinning faces). I saw an 8th

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It’s okay to cry

It’s the third night in a row I’ve come home to process my day with a glass of wine (oh, cursed calories that soothe me so) and my trusty laptop.

So here we go.

 

Over the past two days, I’ve come close to crying for two strangers. I didn’t. For the record, I would call myself an emotional person; I don’t think “stoic” has ever been used to describe me. Even so, I’ve learned to turn off the tears in public situations. At least, most of the time.

But tonight, a victim who was seriously wounded in Saturday’s crash braved the public and his own pain of losing the girl he loved… to honor her and his friend.

matt hardy

I fought to keep my hands still and my breathing to a minimum as I held the camera. Once photographers were finally called to head back to the media box, my lungs filled with air and my eyes with tears.

[I am thankful to my friend Erin, who held me to her side as I wept… and then brought myself back to a calm state.]

And the rest of the night, I was tear-free.

Sometimes it must be bottled up, other times it will sneak out before you can stop and grab it back. As a journalist, am I able to just let myself go? For whatever reason, extreme emotion seems taboo.

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This weekend I had the privilege of listening to Ira Glass in person.* Glass is the host of NPR’s “This American Life,” a phenomenal show I recommend (obviously, by the adjective). In his talk in Troy, he expressed gratefulness that he was a journalist on the radio because it allowed him to show and articulate certain emotions in a way that broadcast journalists couldn’t. He gave the specific instances of humor and surprise.

 

I envy that.

I love to laugh, and if you listen to many interviews I conduct, funny comments will elicit a hearty “ha, ha!” from me. I just can’t help myself! Do those guffaws get included in the final story for air? Rarely.

Tears too, are out of the question. Broadcast journalists are expected to empathize, but not exaggerate. To be caring, yet composed. To sympathize in moderation. Restraint is the rule.

Today, I broke it.** And I don’t care.

 

Tell me again, why can’t we share?

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*More posts to come on his words.

**So did my colleague.