On a recent evening, my wife and I heard what sounded like live mariachi music a few houses away. We were drawn to the uplifting Latin beat, so we followed the sound to a family gathering down the block in a backyard. While we were appreciating the music from the street, a Mexican gentleman in cowboy boots and hat approached us. He introduced himself and welcomed us into his backyard, where they were celebrating his daughter-in-law’s birthday.

We were introduced to the man’s son, who thanked us for enjoying his culture. The accordion player smiled and nodded at us with a generous grin. It was family and community at its best.

Then the police arrived — a neighbor had complained. The son apologized to us. And as we walked home, the celebration moved into the house.

Given the divisive zeitgeist in this country, we were humbled by this gracious invitation from strangers. How sad that so many of us hear joy with fear. Respect in diversity is what makes us who we are as a people.

John Gamache and Bonnie Nesvick, Renton