Monday, September 27, 2010

Mayor Karl Dean savors Nashville's identity as a friendly city in Hispanic Heritage Month kickoffs

NAHCC Hispanic Heritage Month Kick-Off Ceremony
Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center, Vanderbilt University
Event co-hosted by Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
and the Afro-Hispanic Review. Photo by Angela Ammons.
Nashville Mayor Karl Dean recently spoke at Hispanic Heritage Month kickoff events for the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Afro-Hispanic Review (photo above), as well as the Middle Tennessee Hispanic Democrats.

In his remarks to the MTNHD, Dean pointed out the relationship he sees between the volunteerism after the May floods and the defeat of English Only, namely, that they both accentuate the city's identity as a friendly, neighborly, welcoming city:
Nashville is a special place for a lot of reasons: it's a special place because we've got great care capital of America...the center of music...hospitality and tourism... but what really makes us a great city to live in is the people of Nashville. It's the fact that we are a friendly place.

I'm a transplant myself. I didn't come quite as far as some people other did to come here. I came from a very foreign, distant place called Massachusetts. But when I got here - I got here in 1978 - I got here as fast as I could - people would say to me at Vanderbilt Law School, they would ask, How are you? When I had a cold, they'd say, are you OK? It took me a while, I was a little uncomfortable with that. But something occurred to me: they are actually interested and they actually care.

If you're a Nashvillian, you get the sense that that we are special because we are a friendly city. Travel & Leisure magazine has said repeatedly that we are the friendliest city in the United States. And to be a friendly city, when there's a flood, you take care of your neighbors and you take care of your fellow citizens. And if you're a friendly city, when there's something like English Only, you say no. You say we're for diversity, we're a friendly city, we're a welcoming city, and that's who we are. What an incredible thing to be known for - to be a friendly, open, welcoming city.

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