Sunday January 24, 2021

Where the Rainbow Ends

Poet and historian Aberjhani said, “Rainbows introduce us to reflections of different beautiful possibilities so we never forget that pain and grief are not the final options in life.”

These words are in the introduction of a book called Where the Rainbow Ends, produced by Oklahoma City Public Schools Language and Cultural Services department as part of Project Voice, in partnership with the Oklahoma History Center.

Where the Rainbow Ends is an anthology of life experiences written by Middle School and High School students in Oklahoma City Public Schools who are either newcomers to the United States or who were born here but classified as English Learners (because English isn’t the language spoken at home). Some share memories from other countries and many share stories of trauma, violence and pain. They share stories of family members they have loved and lost. They share stories of why they came to the United States and the hopes and dreams they and their parents share for their new lives. They share stories of fear and sadness. Most of all, they share stories of grit and resilience as they navigate a world that doesn’t always treat them kindly.

Decades ago Ronald Reagan said something that still holds true. “More than any other country, our strength comes from our own immigrant heritage and our capacity to welcome those from other lands.” This isn’t a political issue, this is both a moral and pragmatic issue that creates the very fabric of our amazing and diverse country. The students who share their stories in this book help us understand the courage and sacrifice our newcomers and English Learners face. We also come to understand their hope for the future and their unbridled optimism. We can and should welcome them, support them and learn from them.

Copies of Where the Rainbow Ends can be purchased for $15 by contacting Oklahoma City Public Schools by email at Proceeds go towards producing the next edition.

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