by Regina Cantu @ Matt.org
In support of Carlos Santana’s courageous stand against Georgia’s nativism, Morgan Freeman recently said in a CNN interview,
“What would you do with Carlos Santana? Send him back? He’s a national treasure. What would you do with him? The legislature here in Georgia, the legislature there in Arizona, that is absolutely un-American–completely. That’s the kind of discrimination that we now have to–it’s gonna be our next civil rights struggle–is immigration. We are a magnet for people, we want to continue to be that. If you’re not that, then you’re not who you say you are. What does it mean to be an American anymore?”
The comment came following Georgia’s recent passing and signing of HB 87, a draconian measure similar to that of Arizona’s SB 1070 that shreds the Civil Rights of the state’s Latino population. HR 87 authorizes state and local police the federal powers to demand immigration papers from people they suspect to be undocumented. Those without papers on request will find themselves behind bars.
As sports writer Dave Zirin reports in The Nation, Santana—who was receiving an award at the Major League Baseball’s annual Civil Rights Game—assailed the people of Georgia, Arizona and elsewhere who support such hateful measures: Santana took the microphone and said that he was representing all immigrants. He added, “The people of Arizona, and the people of Atlanta, Georgia, you should be ashamed of yourselves.” Sadly, the cheers quickly turned to boos–which isn’t surprising, considering the crowd. Yes, Carlos Santana was booed on Civil Rights Day in Atlanta for talking about Civil Rights.
“This law is not correct. It’s a cruel law, actually. This is about fear.”
After being introduced by entertainer and activist Harry Belafonte, Santana accepted the Beacon of Change, which is given to a person who “impacts society through words and actions.”
On top of winning 10 Grammy Awards, selling more than 90 million records and being enshrined in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Santana runs The Milagro Foundation, which benefits underserved and vulnerable children around the world.
“It’s supremely important, because that’s what I learned in the ’60s,” Santana said about giving back. “I listened to B.B. King and Tito Puente and Martin Luther King and Cesar Chavez and Mother Teresa, so it all became just one. The Beatles, ‘All You Need Is Love.’ We’re still here from the ’60s. We’re hippies, man.”
That same day, Freeman, who was introduced by the first African-American pitcher to start a World Series game, Don Newcombe, spoke about how he never thought he did enough outside of his success as an actor, until he was reminded in the video montage that played just before he took the stage.
Freeman’s films — “The Shawshank Redemption,” “Driving Miss Daisy,” “Million Dollar Baby” and many others — have made him an Academy Award winner and one of the top-grossing actors of all-time.
“‘Hope’ is like a dream,” Freeman said. “No dream, no life. You always have to have hope. You want to have it, you want to give it, you want to offer it.”
Indeed, there is hope that Georgia’s legislation will change. Last week, Georgia was sued for interfering with the federal government in matter of immigration. The lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and a host of Civil Rights groups in the Atlanta’s federal district court.
Civil Rights hero, Atlanta’s John Lewis, has spoken out forcefully against the legislation, saying “This is a recipe for discrimination. We’ve come too far to return to the dark past.”