In Defense Of Liberty, Equality, And A Tolerant America
March 14, 2017
~ Padma Lakshmi, Contributor, Host and executive producer, Top Chef; Author, ‘Love, Loss and What We Ate ~
Many know me as the host and Executive Producer of Bravo’s Top Chef. Or, they know me as the founder of the Endometriosis Foundation of America. But few know me as Padma, an immigrant.
I was four years old when I came here and joined my mother, a nurse who’d left me back in India two years prior. Despite the stigma of divorce, she ended an abusive marriage and with exactly $100 in her pocket, she arrived here in America. It was the 1970s. Inspired by the feminist movement, my mother wanted me to have a better life than she had: one with equal opportunity. She sculpted the mist, in the way those who have no other choice do, willing a life into existence. I love this country for allowing that to be possible. America has shaped our dreams, our values, and our insecurities for three generations: for my mother, myself, and now my daughter. But what if my mom and I had been turned away?
What makes America great is our culture of inclusion. We’re a superpower because we’ve managed to take the best of each immigrant culture and create our own uniquely, American culture. For all its faults and felonies, our country has been admired the world over, as a beacon of hope, because of our tradition of welcoming people, from all walks of life — until now.