Munira Mirza: Let’s celebrate the pilgrims, not demonise them

“Thus out of small beginnings greater things have been produced by His hand… and, as one small candle may light a thousand, so the light here kindled hath shone unto many, yea in some sort to our whole nation.”

These words were written by William Bradford, one of the leaders of the Mayflower pilgrimsand an early Governor of Plymouth, New England. He and his fellow pilgrims set off from England in 1620 after decades of persecution by James I and, before him, Elizabeth I. As religious dissenters they had suffered at the hands of the Anglican authorities for their beliefs.

Four hundred years later, plans are afoot to celebrate the pilgrims’ extraordinary journey.

Let’s use this opportunity to tell a better story about America, and the people from England who helped shape one of the most significant periods in its history. Liberalism needs its heroes, frankly; this is the moment to celebrate them.

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Let’s celebrate the pilgrims, not demonise them