Why integration

Posted by Nat

People sometimes ask us: ‘Are you pro or con immigration?” Our answer is simple: Larry and Friends is a project pro-tolerance. We are not making a stand regarding immigration. Immigration happens, especially in these global times. But when there is no integration and tolerance, it can tear the social fabric of a country apart.

I was born in Belgium, a country that—from its inception—was divided in three groups: French-, Flemish- and German-speakers. Add to that waves of immigration from the Congo, the Middle East and Eastern Europe plus very little effort to drive integration and the results have been… tense to say the least. Every time I visit they are all at each other’s throat or playing the blaming game. It has grown so bad, that a few years back, it took the country 589 days to reach a consensus to elect a government.

I grew up in Venezuela where class difference has ruled the country for over a decade and where the latest solution has been shooting people whose opinion differ from the government.

I currently live New York. And every day I feel blessed. I can be myself. Totally so: funny way of walking and all (I walk on my toes, it’s short tendon thing.) I’m surrounded by people of every color, size and style. Yet we all share one thing: the understanding that we all are human beings having to share a limited physical space. And that only respect and tolerance will keep on making this cultural haven that is New York City possible.

In Larry and Friends, each creature brings a gift. Similarly, each wave of immigration brings a new layer, a new richness to our culture. Maybe it’s food, maybe music, maybe new technology or ecological advances. Tolerance and respect are the best gifts we can offer them back in return.