Also known as the Statue of Liberty poem, New Colossus and its famous last lines have become part of American history. Here is the sonnet in its entirety:

New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “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-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

statue_of_liberty_bw

The sonnet is on the statue of liberty on a bronze plaque.  I love this poem, not just because of it’s great prose of it resonating message of the power of the weak downtrodden of desperate but because it embodies a big part of what it means to be a member of the United States of America.

The Statue of Liberty was built in 1886 and has stood on Liberty Island as an American emblem since then.  I am an American by birth right, however as you look through my lineage you can see that my roots are not from the United States of America. My family comes from Europe and Ireland. Many generations removed but still not an “original” America like say a, naive American is.

What is my point? Well, I read the Clossus poem and I see the Statue of Liberty and the open pioneering spirit of America and at the same time along the southern border of the United States there is an immigration crisis of some sort going on.  I watched the news and saw a crowd of men and women turn a bus around on a highway because they did not want illegal immigrants in their town. I can’t help but wonder if this attitude had been the consensus oin 1886 would the United States of America be the world power she is today?

Turning that bus around. A bus with a majority of children, seems on the service an action by men and women born in some ignorance and frustration.  I know it may seem like it but we will not run out of room or resources because of population before we run out of room and resources because of abuse of room and resources.

When the citizens turned away the immigrants on that bus, who did they turn away?  A short list of very important immigrants follows:

Frank McCourt, Author (Ireland)
Edwidge Danticat, Author (Haiti)
Jaime Escalante, Educator (Bolivia)
I.M. Pei, Architect (China)
Edward Teller, Scientist (Hungary)
Isabel Allende, Author (Chile)
Isaac Stern, Concert Violinist (Russia)
Zubin Mehta, Conductor (India)
Enrico Fermi, Scientist (Italy)
Itzhak Perlman, Violinist (Israel)
Max Frankel, Editor, The New York Times (Germany)
Kahlil Gibron, Poet/Philosopher (Lebanon)
Farouk El-Baz, Geologist (Egypt)

 

immigrants to our country have made contributions in science, art, religion, mathematics almost every field thinkable. What next great immigrant was turned away on that bus?

I know the immigration debate has many ripples and levels however before we as a society label immigrants and children and turn away children perhaps we should look inward.

peace

john3c

 

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