I Know This Man

My son would probably not have reached his normal adult height if it had not been for the barbacoa burritos at Chella’s Restaurant on Liberty Street in Ann Arbor. I was there with him a lot. Several nights a week. People were friendly there – we were friendly back. I knew the owner, who was often behind the counter. Then one night last week, he showed up on TV.  And I thought to myself, “I know this man.”

Kirk Maxey and Adrian Iraola

Kirk Maxey and Adrian Iraola

His name is Adrian Iraola. He was standing in the middle of my big living room TV screen, and David Muir was saying “Watch as this meeting about inclusion and diversity takes a devastating turn…”

For me, something just snapped when I saw this man being hounded as if he had no right to stand up and make critical comments about the community of Saline Michigan BECAUSE HE CAME HERE FROM MEXICO!! We all came here from somewhere. There are no Americans who were always here from the beginning. The so called indigenous came more than 10,000 years ago by foot and by small boat, and spread across the land. Europeans came in trickles 400 years ago by boat, soon coming in larger numbers and bringing African slaves. Famines hit Ireland and Denmark, and the destitute came then in massive waves in the 1800s. Later influxes came mainly by air, as Hungarians, Estonians, Czechs, and Poles fled revolution and repression in their homelands. The collapse of the Soviet Union brought new surges of Russians and Ukrainians followed by Serbs and Romanians in the aftermath of the wars in the Balkans. These people melded into the mix of English, Irish, Italian, German, Swedish, and Danish who came before them, and they ARE AMERICA.

Adam Uzieblo and Kirk Maxey

Adam and Kirk

Adam Uzieblo was born in Warsaw and has a PhD in organic chemistry. When he came to America in 1981, he was forced to leave his wife and small son behind. He was hired as a synthetic chemist at Cayman Chemical in 1989, and has prepared thousands of complex prostaglandins and biochemicals over his decades long career. His family joined him five years later, and his son is now a skilled vascular surgeon practicing in the Detroit area. Adam is a member of the Board of Directors of Cayman Chemical. #Iknowthisman.

There is a lot to find disgusting about the Trump administration, but nothing compares to their racist, xenophobic paranoia regarding immigrants. These people ARE US – they are the new building blocks of America, fitting neatly into the spaces where those of us with a few or even many generations on US soil already live. The Gestapo wannabes of ICE and the HSA routinely humiliate and degrade anyone foreign as they travel into and out of the US. They abuse US citizens and green card holders based on crude racist stereotypes of skin color, language and ethnicity. It is a complete abandonment of our own human decency. I’m sick to goddamn death of it, and I’m not going to sit still for it a second longer.

Zahra Assar, Kirk Maxey, and Andrei Kornilov

Zahra, Kirk, and Andrei

Zahra Assar was born in Tehran, Iran in 1989, the same year that Adam came to work at Cayman. She has a BS in Chemistry from Sharif University of Technology and a PhD from Michigan State. She came to America in 2012 and joined Cayman in 2017 as a structural biologist while she was still defending her thesis. #Iknowthiswoman. Andrei Kornilov was born in Kiev, Ukraine and earned his PhD in Chemistry at the University of Kiev. He came to America in 1996, and is my coauthor on my most recent publication  #Iknowthisman

Toni and Kirk

Toni and Kirk

This is Toni, a Cherokee woman who manages the Twin Peaks mine near Mount Ida, Arkansas. We share a love of nature, quartz crystals and geology. Our relatives from many generations ago were from the southeastern US, moved westward to Oklahoma and then went their separate ways. #Iknowthiswoman

Cathy and Kirk

Cathy and Kirk

Cathy Miller was born in Taiwan and moved to America when she was 5. She graduated with a degree in Chemistry from the University of Michigan and joined Cayman Chemical in 1994. She has held positions in several departments, and is now part of the ISO-qualified forensics department that handles drugs of abuse. #Iknowthiswoman

In America, we are all immigrants. The only distinction is that some of us came recently and have more obvious traces of our past, like an accent or some unusual holidays or traditions of dress. Those of us who have been here longer need to be as welcoming, respectful, and appreciative of recent immigrants as possible, because they are literally the lifeblood of our country. They truly understand and appreciate freedom and liberty, some after having been deprived of their basic human rights elsewhere. Somewhere within the twisted guts of this foul administration is a perverted goon who thinks up new ways every day to mistreat decent, honest people crossing our borders. He’s the asshole who dreamed up snatching kids away from their parents and locking them in cages. We need to smoke that son of a bitch out and LOCK HIM UP!!!

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2 Responses to I Know This Man

  1. Laura Brennan says:

    Well said! Thank you for this refreshing post.

  2. kirkmike157 says:

    I’ve been hoping a few more people would follow the hashtag and take their own selfies of people they live with and work with. We cannot have vilification of foreigners and immigrants become the new normal for America. Post your support for immigrants on Twitter #Iknowthisman #Iknowthiswoman

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