Diversity Visas
What’s That All About, Alfie?

Europeans came to America because they wanted religious and political freedom. Roger Williams was a Puritan pastor in Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1631. Interestingly, he also wanted to separate the church from state issues. The Massachusetts Bay Colony was where Puritans came from England for religious freedom. However, it didn’t take long for the Puritans, who longed for religious freedom, to banish Williams in 1635 due to his religious beliefs.

Roger Williams talking with Native Americans

It seems a tragic disconnect that America started because of freedom but limited people with different political or religious ideas. Additionally, we limited those freedoms from the enslaved people brought to America. From the early 17th to the mid-19th century, 388,000 slaves arrived in North America. Those slaves had neither political nor religious freedoms.

The cargo of a slave ship

America has had a long struggle dealing with diversity. During the past four centuries, all those who came to America for freedom have been dissed and discriminated against. Tragically, some still are.

However, to resolve our problem with race, ethnic background, or religion, Congress passed the Immigration Act of 1990. The State Department has an annual Diversity Visa (DV) lottery. Around 55,000 immigrants receive the Diversity Visas each year.

If you obtained a Diversity Visa, that was surely exciting for you. You came to America and enjoyed your new country. However, Diversity Visas also benefit our country. It demonstrates that all people from varying backgrounds can assist America to become even better in which to live.

Here are two personal examples. Last summer, I couldn’t take Ginger, my Irish Setter, for a walk around the lake on which we live due to plantar fasciitis. So, I made an appointment with Dr. El-Samad, a local podiatrist. At my first appointment, I told him that I was there for two reasons. The first was to affirm my diagnosis that I had plantar fasciitis. The second was because he was a Muslim from the Middle East. This was my way of thumbing my nose at racism and xenophobia.

The second example had to do with taking Ginger to Purdue Veterinary Hospital. Ginger has danced with death several times. Three members of the medical staff gave Ginger a new lease on life.

Those two examples occurred in the past. My family in Myanmar has filed for a Diversity Visa for their family. They haven’t won the State Department’s lottery yet, but they are still trying.

However, my oldest granddaughter, Ti Ti will soon get a student visa to come to America to attend college and live with PaPa Al. Diversity will help Ti Ti educationally and will help Americans appreciate her talents.


This video is of Neil Diamond singing about Coming to America.