Tuesday, May 02, 2006

May 1

It was inspiring to join the rallies yesterday. And of course, it was impossible not to join the rallies; the street symphony poured over into the Budget Committee's discussion of the Cultural Affairs Department's 2006-7 funding, and it was hard to stay indoors once the crowd began to swell outside my office window. I wove my way through the crowd and ran into a few friends (and made some new ones as well). Later in the day, I joined my colleagues Bill Rosendahl and José Huizar on the stage at City Hall, and still later on in the afternoon I joined the Mayor, the Speaker of the Assembly and many others at the end of the Wilshire march. It was the most enormous privilege to be up there and to be able to see what the rest of the walking city could only feel: the hundreds of thousands that, once the march had reached its end, still stretched back past the horizon, more than a mile back to Rossmore.

My grandfather, Salvador Delgado Garcetti, was born in the city of Parral, Chihuahua. He married a woman named Juanita Iberri, whose parents came to the United States from Guaymas, Sonora. (Many people think I'm Italian because of my last name. My Italian ancestor immigrated to Mexico first. I have a very inclusive family tree.)

And this is how it starts for so many of us, this necessary of act of looking to the past without amnesia and to the future without blindness: by recalling our families, their names, the places of their birth, the oceans they crossed (my mother's family is from Eastern Europe), and the deserts where they left their sweat and tears.

Every generation gets to choose whether it will learn the lessons of the past or forget them. Every generation gets to shape what it will stand for under the banner of the American flag. So let us choose that the American flags we waved on May 1st will stand for justice, for inclusion, for fairness, and for our right and our obligation to speak, and to be heard.

Photo by John Parres, via Boing Boing