We are the Board Members of Arkadaşlar, “Friends of Turkey,” representing over 800 returned PCVs. As Peace Corps Volunteers in Turkey in the 1960s and early 1970s, we learned, and lived, the value of understanding and respecting other cultures and religions, specifically Muslims and Islam. Many of us formed life-long friendships with our colleagues and neighbors, who were more like us than not. Accordingly, we endorse the Minnesota RPCV message as reflective of our views and experience.
The Minnesota Message:
We, 99 Returned Peace Corps Volunteers from Minnesota, have written this letter to counter the recent increase in anti-Muslim, anti-Islam, and anti-immigrant rhetoric that is sweeping across America and our state. We served for two years as Peace Corps Volunteers in various countries around the world. Although we all had very different experiences in different cultures, one thing that binds us together is an understanding that the more you know about someone, the more you appreciate what we have in common rather than dwell on or be fearful of our differences. We feel that the hateful speech that permeates our society should be condemned not just by Returned Peace Corps Volunteers like ourselves, but by every American who wants to stand up against bigotry and ignorance.