I prefer to live in a diverse community.

Written by Alexandria Harvey*

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Photo courtesy of the Elmont Memorial High School Empowerment Project

This sentence is intriguing to me—as a writer—because it contains an adverbial prepositional inside of an infinitive phrase that acts as the direct object of the independent clause.

This sentence is intriguing to me—as a human being—because it is true.

While figures have potentially fluctuated in nearly a decade, the United States Census Bureau reported that in 2010, Elmont’s population was as follows: 45.5% Black or African American; 28.5% White; 10.9% Asian; and 0.5% American Indian and Alaska Native. If you are adding up the totals, keep in mind that these data are for those individuals who reported only one category, meaning that around 15% of the population reported more than one race.

Race is often the first element that we see when identifying diversity, but it is certainly not the only way in which Elmont, or any area, is diverse. We, humans, bring culture. We bring religion. We bring gender. We bring sexuality. We bring age. We bring language. We bring so much more in terms of diversity than merely how we look, yet how we look is a beautiful part of the image we create.

Elmont is diverse in the ways noted, and this diversity makes us an outlier in terms of Long Island—New York itself, in fact. In other words, not many communities are as diverse as we are. In fact, Niche.com lists Sewanhaka Central High School as the 17th most diverse high school in the entire state. With a prodigious amount of high schools in New York, number 17 is pretty impressive.

Diverse communities often receive an unfair stigma, grounded in a history wrought with oppression. Instead of continuing to perpetuate these false notions into the new millennium, understand why diversity is a strength.

In simple terms, a diverse community is a reflection of the world as it was intended. Whether you believe in divine creation, a series of physical transmutations, or some combination of both as the reason for the current human form, we can all attribute the establishment of our physical bodies to another. By chance or fate, we were not created or intended to all be the same. Elmont’s diversity is a reflection of humans as they are.

Elmont’s diversity means I see a real community when I drive or stroll through my neighborhood. Elmont’s diversity means I smell rich, inviting aromas of cultural culinary classics wafting out of houses when I am on my strolls. Elmont’s diversity means I can sample these classics at neighborhood eateries. Elmont’s diversity means that we can learn from one another and grow toward a greater understanding of peace and humanity. Elmont’s diversity means we can practice our faith in a number of houses of worship.

Embracing diversity encourages two qualities for which the world thirsts—an open-minded spirit and a compassionate heart.

By Elmont resident and Contributing Writer, Alexandria Harvey. *Alexandria Harvey is a pseudonym.

#WeAreElmont #ElephantsInElmont #HigherHeights

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