I am a unicorn. That is what people call someone who was actually born in Nashville.
I was born in Nashville in 1969, moved away just before turning 5, back at 13, away again at 14, and back again at 18, and I’m still here. I love my hometown for a lot of reasons, but here is what I am most proud of-
We are good neighbors.
So Much Diversity, So Much Unity
I remember feeling shocked at the melting pot of Nashville when I moved back here at age 13. A trip to my local K-mart off Charlotte Pike was like a mini world tour. Countless languages swirled all around me while the manager announced blue-light specials from the intercom in a deep southern drawl.
Nashville remains beautifully diverse, and for the most part, we get along.
This week, a Kurdish immigrant, named Naamah, and I laughed as we shared parenting stories while she pinned up my Haitian daughter’s prom dress.
The morning after the tornado struck, as I was reading through comments on a news story, I saw one in which a man with a distinctive Arab name simply offered to help anyone who needed it. All you had to do was reach out. He was ready.
Yesterday, a Vietnamese immigrant and I were talking about the destruction and she said, “We just have to be kind to each other, Sherri, because you never know what will happen. You never know.”
We Are Nashville, We Help Each Other
When I awakened to the terrible photos of my city, my heart was crushed, but there was one thing I knew for sure-
We would come together and help each other, because that is what Nashvillians do.
Nashville has changed so much in the past few years, but I hope this is one thing that stays the same.
I know we aren’t perfect. I have had dear Latina friends relate terrible stories of racism and mistreatment. My own black daughters have dealt with it too, but I am deeply hopeful about the ways in which we choose each other.
As Naamah and I chatted about parenting, her in her hijab, my daughter with her dreadlocks and nose ring, and me with my blonde pixie cut, I thought…
“We can do this. We can be different and still love each other.”
If you are in the Nashville area and want to help, Hands On Nashville is coordinating volunteers. (The volume of volunteers actually crashed the website the day after the tornado struck, but it is back up and running!)