By CDA Margaret Nardi
U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires
In this second year of the battle against Covid, when so many are feeling a sense of isolation and loss, it is important for us all to continue to reach out and support one another. The U.S. Embassy values the opportunity to do this internally by recognizing the diversity of America through monthly celebrations of the communities which have built and enriched our country.
When celebrating Black History Month, for example, we play recordings of speeches by Dr. Martin Luther King and other Black Americans who have made significant contributions to our society. During Women’s History Month, we share messages about women who have positively influenced our lives and feature prominent American, Bahraini, and other women leaders from around the world. By celebrating Arab Americans in April, Asian and Pacific Islander Americans in May, and Hispanic Americans in September and October, we recognize the vibrant and vital contributions of those from diverse backgrounds and cultures to the United States. We also honor the culture of our Bahraini hosts and diverse local staff by celebrating the Hindu festival of Diwali, and during the holy month of Ramadan, we hold iftars, suhoors, and other important and cherished exchanges between our people.
In that spirit of diversity and inclusiveness, each June, we recognize “Pride Month” by raising the rainbow flag, which is displayed outside of U.S. embassies around the globe, or, as is the case in Bahrain, displayed inside the embassy. Our celebrations are as diverse as the communities we recognize and underscore the idea that we all are equally valued.
Americans who serve abroad bring the values that underpin American society with them. Our values are part of our contribution to the places where we live and work. We recognize that America still struggles with its own historical injustices. We know that we have much work still to do.
Within the Embassy, we established a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee to identify ways we can better respect and reflect the contributions of our staff and its diversity. On June 19, we will recognize Juneteenth, the date honoring the emancipation of slaves in the United States. Additionally, for the first time this year, the U.S. Government has recognized and commemorated the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. We continue to grapple with police brutality, anti-Asian attacks, and an increase in anti-Semitic attacks. Our process of reflection is ongoing.
We appreciate the opportunity to engage with our Bahraini partners on solutions to overcome our shared challenges and to strive for greater acceptance of all people. We welcome an exchange of perspectives on freedom of speech and acceptance of our differences as human beings, and appeal to all of us to come to these conversations with respect and openness for each other.