DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – You’re probably familiar with the Golden Rule – treat others the way you want to be treated. Now a local initiative is asking Texans to extend that rule to the immigration debate.
Inside the main entrance to the Dallas Public Library, you will see phrases of inspiration and information for North Texas newcomers – everything from restaurant recommendations to words of encouragement. These Welcome Walls are sprouting up in Dallas; there’s one at Love Field airport, and another will be coming soon to the Convention Center.
“A message of hope for people who come here and visit or come here to live,” is how Liz Cedillo-Pereira, the Director of the Dallas office of Welcoming Communities and Immigrant Affairs, describes it.
They’re the work of the “Be Golden” initiative, which aims to infuse the conversation about immigration with the Golden Rule. Several city leaders, including Mayor Mike Rawlings and Bishop Edward Burns, spearheaded it.
“Why don’t we just tell the stories of our neighbors, friends, family members? Out of that grew the idea of how would you want to be treated if you were in a land outside of your home?,” says Cedillo-Pereira.
It’s something Patricia Blasquez wishes had been around when she immigrated to the U.S. from the Philippines.
“Financially we struggled. Mentally and socially acclimating to the culture was tough, especially for me because I was 12-years-old,” Blasquez says.
Blasquez, who now works for the city of Dallas as the Policy and Communications Coordinator, hopes “Be Golden” will help immigrants feel more welcome than she did.
“I think we need to move past fear and go back to empathy and love and kindness,” she says.
“The shared values of what makes us strong as a community are seeing each other for the humanity that we all possess, and seeing the difference as something that can be a positive rather than a negative,” says Cedillo-Pereira.
The Be Golden campaign is also extending into Dallas schools. They’ve handed out around 10,000 “Be Golden” bracelets and are working to install Welcome Walls into DISD. “Be Golden” also recently started in Louisville, Kentucky.