In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, which started yesterday, and in memory of the terrorist attacks that took place on September 11, 2001 I am dedicating this weekend’s combined post to diversity.

Humanists educate about a wide array of cultural aspects, especially diversity in their classrooms and beyond.

My colleagues and I will be celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with our students.

On September 11, 2001 my mother called early in the morning.

I assumed she was calling to wish me and my younger brother a good day.

Instead, she instructed my brother to shave his beard and told us both that if anyone asked where we were from, not to say that we were Middle Eastern. She spoke with the fear of an immigrant.

It was after eight that morning and The Twin Towers had already been struck.

Some time later, still in Baltimore, a cab driver asked me where I was from.

I quickly answered, “Maryland.”

He sensed my apprehension.

He said to me, very kindly, “Don’t let ignorance make you feel ashamed of where you’re from.”

Ignorance is the real enemy of diversity.

The cab driver’s advice is the advice I would give to anyone from any background, whether they are immigrants or not.