By Jemima Haque

To me, being a New Yorker is about acceptance and tolerance.

I think about acceptance and tolerance every day just by being in the Museum and looking out at the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. The scenery is beautiful, but it’s also a reminder that this is where so many immigrants started their American lives.

I have lived in New York City for about seven years. I grew up in a small village back in my homeland, Bangladesh. Coming to a diverse place like New York City was exciting but scary at the same time. I knew nothing about city life and didn’t know what to expect once I got here. The moment I stepped out of the airport and into New York City is when I feel like my life really began.

I say my life began in New York because I’ve learned so many things from this city and its diversity. I am a Muslim woman growing up with cultures I didn’t know about before. The opportunity to be an Apprentice at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, a museum that focuses on a different heritage than my own, is an example of the kind of experience New York City provides.

Jemima is a 2018 participant in the High School Apprenticeship Program.