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Commentary: Immigration March editorial

By J. Frank Hernandez, KERA 90.1 Commentator

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/kera/local-kera-506582.mp3

Dallas, TX –

Something occurred to me as I followed the coverage of the recent student walkouts to protest the immigration bills being debated in Washington, D.C.: "Way to go, students!"

In this day and age of apathy that society has attempted to drill into our youth through technology and entertainment, it was exciting to see thousands of students stand up to support their parents and family members - many of whom are unable to stand up in public because of their immigration status.

Sadly, many adults have chosen to take these students to task. They have preached that these students would be better served by remaining in class and working within the system.

The most egregious example of adult misguidance regards the upcoming April 9 rally. People wishing to participate in the march are being instructed that only United States flags will be allowed.

I recognize the importance of showing respect for this country, but why should we ask people to forgo their ancestry and their citizenship?

There is no reason to require people to let go of who they are. This is an immigration march. That means that the vast majority of people will be either immigrants themselves or the direct descendants of immigrants. There is nothing to fear in seeing thousands of Mexican flags at this march. There is greatness in that. There is strength in such a sight. This requirement is a testament to the arrogance of us as Americans and to the second-class status to which so many of our so-called leaders voluntarily ascribe themselves. I am an American, and extremely proud to be one, so I would never expect someone else to be less proud of their nation of origin.

Let us take a lesson from that most horrific of past American institutions: slavery. Black people in this country had their history destroyed by American citizens. We so thoroughly ripped away the ancestry of these incredibly resilient human beings that the vast majority of African-Americans do not know from which country in Africa their ancestors came.

Today, we find the so-called leaders of our Latino community imploring us to do the same thing. Let's tear away the ancestry of our people so that we can pledge our allegiance to the United States of America. The people who participate in this march are not marching against America by carrying a different flag. They are simply showing pride in their nation of origin.

So I say, bring your flags. And while we're at it, let us see the Puerto Rican flag, the Cuban flag, the Jamaican flag, the Venezuelan flag, the Irish flag, the Iraqi flag, and every other flag that makes up our world.

J. Frank Hernandez is Executive Director of the Herculano & Elida Hernandez Foundation.

If you have opinions or rebuttals about this commentary, call (214) 740-9338 or email us

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