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A Salute to Immigrants

The United States is a nation of immigrants.

The vast majority of you reading this are descended from immigrants (aside from those few who are Native American). I know I am. My paternal grandfather came over from Italy as a child. My maternal grandfather was Irish-American, a Brady whose own ancestors hailed from Oldcastle in County Meath. My paternal grandmother was half German and half Welsh. My maternal grandmother had French and English ancestry. I am a mongrel to the bone. In short, American.

Wherever they came from, and whenever they made the crossing, all of my immigrant ancestors faced hardships, poverty, and discrimination when they came here. They came looking for freedom, they came looking for a better life. And they found it, or made it... and in the process they stopped being Irish or Italian or German and became Americans.

The process is still going on today. Men and women dreaming of a better life still look to America, and cross oceans and deserts by whatever means they can to find that better life. They face hardships and discrimination as well. Not everyone welcomes them. Some talk of walls, of keeping people out, of sending them back. My ancestors faced the same sort of talk. So did yours. It's an old old story, as old as our republic. Millard Fillmore is dead and forgotten, but the Know Nothing Party is alive and well today, under other names. They still know nothing.

But some of us remember where we came from. Some of us remember that it was the immigrants, those tired poor huddled masses, who made America great to begin with.

From September 23 to September 30, the Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe will proudly be screening five great films about immigration and the immigrant experience. A mix of old films and new films, featuring a wide range of actors of all races, colors, and ethnicities, by some of cinema's finest writers and directors. Comedy, drama, terror; immigrants have known it all, and these movies will reflect that. Some are among my own favorite movies. Others I have yet to see.

Here are the trailers for the films we'll be screening:

MOSCOW ON THE HUDSON


THE LOST CITY


AVALON


DESIERTO


SIN NOMBRE


Check the Jean Cocteau website for dates and showtimes.

In addition to the films themselves, we plan to feature some appearances by the actors, directors, and some of our local political figures, talking about the movies, their own families, the issues surrounding immigration, and the like. We'll have more details on that as the dates firm up. But I know I will be kicking things off myself on Friday, September 23.

And as a way of welcoming our newest Americans, during the entire week, admission to all shows will be FREE for anyone who can show us a green card.

(And while I cannot promise a taco truck on every corner, we do hope to have a wide variety of food trucks turning up in front of the JCC at peak times, offering all sorts of tasty treats).

Comments

( 76 comments )
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GeekFurious
Sep. 11th, 2016 12:15 am (UTC)
Damn straight
I became a US citizen on 15 June, 2016. I have lived in the US since I was a kid but never went the whole route of becoming one of you. Now I can't wait to vote in my first ever election!

The states of the Americas who are united were founded on outsiders becoming one of us. So, bravo on your screening. May it go very well.
3as7
Sep. 11th, 2016 12:38 am (UTC)

Thank you for acknowledging the positive effects of immigration, and how this nation was built.

Anthony Emmel
Sep. 11th, 2016 12:56 am (UTC)
Awesome!
Sir, you are a true gentleman! I especially like the green card admission ticket! :)
caravaggio2012
Sep. 11th, 2016 12:59 am (UTC)
I approve this message.

May all walls between us shatter and melt as surely as The Wall will. :)
Aaron Kemerling
Sep. 11th, 2016 01:00 am (UTC)
I agree to a point
We are a Nation (Country) of immigrants. My own Maternal line is almost entirely Scandanavian 2nd or 3rd generation off the boat. I have no issues with people who try to immigrate by the rules. The issue is the intense Coyote culture of smugglers bringing in undocumented immigrants/emigrants for a price which becomes their personal profit. If we can establish a viable immigration/emigration policy I am all for it. but it seems we get a LOT of illegals for every legal. This places a burden on public services from healthcare, to jobs, to welfare, to racial tension. This CANNOT be healthy. Nor can it be entirely judged misplaced. IMO. The answer is not another Berlin Wall, but an answer needs to be found.....
asher63
Sep. 11th, 2016 01:11 am (UTC)
RE: I agree to a point
I agree. It is possible to support legal immigration without supporting illegal immigration.
RE: I agree to a point - think4yerslf - Sep. 24th, 2016 01:41 am (UTC) - Expand
RE: I agree to a point - artikh2 - Sep. 11th, 2016 01:37 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: I agree to a point - jamesonquinn - Sep. 11th, 2016 04:55 am (UTC) - Expand
harryberger89
Sep. 11th, 2016 01:11 am (UTC)
Thank you!
Needed this! This election has been depressing to a depressing year. The fact that Trump is a candidate for a major party for President of the United States is a disgrace.
(Deleted comment)
jamesonquinn
Sep. 11th, 2016 05:01 am (UTC)
Maybe we should all be wary of people whose names start with H. After all, think of how many deaths Hannibal caused.

Or alternately, we could just not arbitrarily single out groups of living humans to blame for the fact that the past contains bad people.
artikh2
Sep. 11th, 2016 01:39 am (UTC)
A bit unfair to Fillmore
As far as I remember Fillmore wasn't a fan of the NAP himself.
grrm
Sep. 11th, 2016 05:56 am (UTC)
Re: A bit unfair to Fillmore
The NAP?

Fillmore was the presidential candidate of the Know Nothing Party. He finished third in 1856, winning only one state.
Re: A bit unfair to Fillmore - redguardricky - Sep. 11th, 2016 10:57 am (UTC) - Expand
RE: Re: A bit unfair to Fillmore - artikh2 - Sep. 11th, 2016 11:32 am (UTC) - Expand
faeriefiles
Sep. 11th, 2016 01:52 am (UTC)
Actually, if the scientists are correct humanity began somewhere in Africa which means the Americas have no indigenous peoples and we really are ALL are immigrants here. :)
Tyree Kordosky
Sep. 11th, 2016 06:50 pm (UTC)
I don't know, I think think the Native Americans should get some credit for being here at least 12,000 years before everyone else...
(no subject) - faeriefiles - Sep. 11th, 2016 07:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
lostreality
Sep. 11th, 2016 02:52 am (UTC)
Another recent good movie about immigration is Brooklyn.
rider3099
Sep. 11th, 2016 04:47 am (UTC)
OMG! The I am so far away from Santa Fe!!!
ravenclaw_eric
Sep. 11th, 2016 05:23 am (UTC)
"The Know Nothing party is still alive?" So Jon Snow is running for President?

As for me, Tyrion's still got my vote.
Jeremy Petit
Sep. 13th, 2016 03:00 am (UTC)
Tyrion's still got my vote
If 2016 was Tyrion v. Seaworth, it would be win-win for everyone IMO.
livejournal
Sep. 11th, 2016 05:36 am (UTC)
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xenaclone
Sep. 11th, 2016 07:56 am (UTC)
Britain is also a nation descended from immigrants.

The mostly unknown people who built all the megolithic structures [e.g. Stonehenge], the Celts, the Romans [including a whole bunch of dark-skinned African Romans], the Vikings, the Anglo Saxons who came from Friesland [NL] and Germany, various waves of French, Jewish people, Moors [enough that Shakespeare could make one into a tragic hero], people from the colonies and the old Empire, traders of all stripes....
redguardricky
Sep. 11th, 2016 09:17 am (UTC)
Go back far enough and every nation is a nation of immigrants, except for maybe someplace in Africa where the earliest human ancestor can be traced.

But there's an obvious counter to your argument here: your grandparents came here legally (presumably) and with the intention of accepting, or at least not challenging, local values. Even Trump goes on a big spiel about how his wall will have a big fat door in which people will be welcomed into the country, but they have to come legally.

Likewise, in Europe, the big fear is that migrants from the Middle East aren't coming to Germany or Sweden to accept German values or Swedish values, but rather will move to Germany and Sweden and keep to their old ways, which are often sharply at odds with modern liberal secular values. Do you consider it no problem at all if a large group of immigrants moves into a country that values free speech while holding to the idea that people who draw pictures of the Prophet Mohammed deserve to be jailed or even killed? How can there be compromise in such a situation? One must win and the other must lose.

And, of course, there's an ugly underbelly to the stirring portrait of American immigration as a force for good: when our ancestors came here, there were already people here. We either killed them, caused them to die through disease or dispossessed them and took what we liked through force, leaving their ancestors to mostly irrelevance in modern society. I'm pretty sure if a native american were asked if immigration is always for the best of the people already living there, they might have a bit more nuanced conception of that idea.
grrm
Sep. 12th, 2016 05:53 pm (UTC)
I think you need to make a distinction between conquerers, colonists, and immigrants. There are three different words for a reason. All of them travel to distant lands, but under very different circumstances and for very different reasons.

The idea that the present wave of immigrants is somehow different from all previous waves of immigrants, and THESE people are "not like us" and will not assimilate... this is the myth that will not die. It has been applied to pretty much every group of immigrants ever to come to our shores. Assimilation does not take place overnight, no. It is sometimes the work of generations. But it does happen. I believe in the power of the melting pot.
Agreement - cyniclclasicist - Sep. 13th, 2016 10:21 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - redguardricky - Sep. 13th, 2016 08:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
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