When you grow up in a slum in India, it can be hard to imagine a world beyond the high rises where your family members work as staff for wealthy families.
I sat in the back of the sauna-hot room and watched young leaders of the OSCAR Foundation, a program that uses soccer as a vehicle to get kids into school and consider a life and world beyond their community, as they listened to an Indian soccer player who played for a U.S. college.
Suddenly the world must’ve looked a little larger to them, opportunities a bit more possible.
Kean Lewis played at Farleigh Dickinson and got an education in sports management. Now he plays for a team in India and in the off-season works as a sports journalist.
After Kean shared his experience, a representative from the U.S. Consulate shared the steps to get into a school and get scholarships. The impossible suddenly had a road map.
The representative told the students that American universities needed them.
“Tell your story,” he said. “You have something to add.”
He said American universities value diversity and diverse lived experiences.
At the end of the talk, Ashoka, the founder of the OSCAR Foundation (who I’ll be writing much more about in WHERE AM I GIVING?), asked the young leaders, “Who is interested in studying in America?”
Every hand went up.
This is the promise of America.
I’ve been embarrassed plenty on this trip. I’ve had to try to explain what is happening in our country, the ridiculousness of our politics, the immaturity and the insularity. But in that moment, where the young leaders of OSCAR saw the promise of the United States, I was proud to be an American.
Happy fourth of July!
I hope you love and will fight for all that is good in our country as much as my fearless friend Michelle Greer …