Monday, January 21, 2013

Let Freedom Ring!

Happy Inauguration and Happy Martin Luther King Day from a freezing New York City. I don't like winter and I usually break from the city when it gets cold. But I'm happy I had the chance to stick around this year because I got to revisit the words of Martin Luther King which I had not heard in years and years but that have become even louder and more brilliant and relevant as the years go on.

Things have changed. Today in the US there is a black president for the second time. We are squarely in the post civil rights era. So it's doubly important to listen to the words and recall the actions that have brought us closer to MLK's  promised land. Martin Luther King did not get here with us. But Obama did. 

Today in his inaugural address Obama namechecked MLK and, perhaps emboldened by his spirit, felt compelled to address the segregation and injustice suffered by America's current oppressed class, immigrants, on an ongoing  basis. This is the new civil right movements. It does not revolve around race. It is centered on background and socio economic standing. Immigrants - of all creeds - are increasingly on the wrong side of the fence. Thus far, Obama has NOT been wonderful for immigrants. 

To the contrary, deportations are at an all time high. Today Obama might have been moved by Rev. King and moved by his own place in history. Let's hope he meant what he said and that immigrant rights will be an important part of his second term. So let's pour some out for MLK today. Without him Obama would not have been here today, and would't have an historic opportunity to restore the rightful place of immigrants as a crucial part of the American experience. - Fernando Gil 

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
                    I have a dream today!" Martin Luther King

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