“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
These are the words inscribed on the Statue of Liberty, which has stood since 1886 as a beacon of hope for immigrants coming to America.
In light of recent decisions barring hundreds of thousands of immigrants and the president’s vulgar language describing foreign countries, this is the time to revisit these words.
We are, after all, a country of immigrants. Generations ago, our own family members were among the tired, the poor, the huddled masses who came to America seeking a better life.
While we know the issues surrounding immigration are complicated and controversial — and believe that restrictions must be in place to ensure that our borders are secure — we must not forget America’s roots.
We are a country that declares these truths: “... that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
This is true for all people, regardless of your skin color, where you were born or what you believe.
On Monday, we recognized a Baptist minister who had a dream. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream was that one day, this nation would live out the true meaning of its creed: “All men are created equal.”
It’s a dream that lives on long after King’s death.
In our current struggles, as our country’s right and left continue to spar, we hope that we can learn from those who came before us. Those who had dreams — those who gave their lives for the belief that all people are created equal.
Revisit our Declaration of Independence and read the words of Dr. King.
At our core, this is who America is, and this is what we should be known for today — not just in history books.