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ARTICLE

Mixing It Up at the Bus Stop: A Model

I love my neighborhood. On any given morning at the bus stop, I hear five different languages being spoken. While the words and sounds are different, the context is the same.

I love my neighborhood. On any given morning at the bus stop, I hear five different languages being spoken. While the words and sounds are different, the context is the same.

In English, my 3-year-old says her goodbyes to my second-grader. "Fist bump!" Their fists collide and then they pantomime exaggerated explosions complete with sound effects. This is followed by a lingering hug.

Next to me, Arcadia is warning her kindergartner in Spanish to remember to bring his hat home. He wraps his arms around her legs, squeezes them and runs off to board the bus. Behind me I hear Markisha's grandmother hum a sweet, lilting song in Creole. She wears gloves and a hat even though it’s 50 degrees out. Her singing is silky and warm like rich, hot cocoa. The chill of the morning seems to dissipate as I listen.

Now, to my left a tall, thin woman adjusts the collar of Fatima's jacket and in low tones speaks in Turkish. I don't know what she's saying, but the young girl's eyes brighten, as a big, toothy grin spreads wide across her face. To the right, Sergey tussles his son's hair and tells him something in Russian. The look on his face exudes care and love.

At this unassuming corner of Weddington Drive and Crestwick Way, something magical happens. Although we speak different languages and come from different cultures, we all express the same thing: love.

At the start of year, our similarities weren't as obvious. People clumped in their usual clique. I understand why. It is only human to want to be with the familiar, where a sense of security and comfort can be found.

Spanish speakers huddled together under a tree. Russian and Turkish families stood by the storm drain. The lone Haitian family waited up on a hill. The English speakers generally congregated on the sidewalk.

However, over time, something happened. I'm not even sure when it first began. But, the invisible lines separating us disappeared.

Smiles and friendly waves transcended language barriers. Umbrellas were shared. If someone had a long way to walk home, someone with a car offered a ride. As the children walked home, several different parents herded them together. Every child was their child.

I can't help but think of Mix It Up. Could this be a glimpse into the future? The long-term result of seeds planted at events like Mix It Up? I'd like to think so.

Moments like this give me hope. One day—hopefully soon—we will all realize, we are more similar than we are different. And racism and prejudice? They will slowly disappear, like the non-existent lines on the corner of Weddington and Crestwick.

Sansbury is a middle and high school English teacher in Georgia.