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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

Alex McDonough
Sep. 11th, 2016 05:29 pm (UTC)
A Feel-Free-To-Skim Post
BRAVO Mr. Martin, you dealt with this sensitive subject sincerely without naming anyone in particular. Many people blame the inescapable demagogue we see on TV and the internet every day for the rise in bigotry. Yet, his supporters are the ones that truly lack clarity and blame scapegoats for unrelated problems. These are the type of people I dealt with for years. People who characterize and treat others as lazy, worthless, uneducated, etc. even though these same people are completely unwilling to accept or even learn about people from different socioeconomic backgrounds.

Mr. Martin, in 2013 I moved to Washington, D.C. to work for a Republican Senator (primarily handling constituent services, nothing too important). I once gave a tour of the U.S. Capitol to a constituent who told me Rosa Parks' bust didn't deserve to be placed in the rotunda (or anywhere in the Capitol for that matter). Another time I gave a tour to a man I would describe as a religious fanatic who watched too many documentaries on the History Channel. He claimed the U.S. government has been covering up the fact that the world is just 6000 years old by editing all textbooks and magazines circulated around the country.

Anyways, I gave up working for the GOP in 2015 after spending a deal of time working at a local Republican office in Cincinnati, Ohio. I cannot tell you, as a Conservative, how disappointed I am the party I worked my tail off for. I couldn't be more supportive of low taxes, less government programs (mainly social security) government intervention in the private sector and health care, etc. But the GOP doesn't seem to care about any of those issues this year. I guess they require too much brainpower to discuss. Anyways, I moved out of the U.S. and am now becoming fluent in Chinese 你可能不相信我哈哈, 但你是我最喜欢的作者。I only hope political realignment happens soon because it's time for a new political party. Keep changing the way people think Sir ~

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George R.R. Martin
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