After Martin Luther King’s murder in 1968, I unexpectedly became chair of a successful effort to pass open-housing ordinances in Olympia and Thurston County. At a hearing before the Olympia City Council, my older children heard a resident establish the need for such an ordinance.

Today, I am Nana to two sets of biracial grandchildren. Getting to know the families of their African American and Indian American grandparents has enriched my life. I agree with the writer of the letter “Structural racism: A long way to go” [Feb. 6, Northwest Voices] that those who live in ethnic isolation have much to learn. When we put away our racism, and gender, religious and economic biases and fears, diversity becomes a gift to all of us because others’ intellectual gifts, religious diversity, economic capabilities and cultural heritage enrich us in ways too many cannot begin to imagine.

We need to encourage our legislators to abolish laws that discriminate, limit and deny equal rights and access to all Americans and our immigrants. The sooner that happens, the sooner we might also come to a fuller understanding of what living in a Democracy really means.

Anne Avery, Tacoma