Posted on May 5, 2006, Printed on May 7, 2006
Their optimism brought tears to my eyes. And not only for the obvious reasons.
Deep inside, I was grieving for my own people. I wished that my beloved African-American community had managed, somehow, to retain our own sparkling sense of faith in a magnificent future. There was once a time when we, too, marched forward together, filled with utter confidence in the new day dawning. There was a time when we, too, believed that America's tomorrow held something bright for us ... and for our children.
Strong brown hands have grabbed hold of the U.S. flag. They are pulling it away from those who have monopolized it, from bullies who have abused the nation's symbols for their violent and illegitimate ends. I am glad.
Because only a mass movement with broad shoulders -- and rough hands -- will have the power to win the coming tug-of-war for the heart and soul of this country. The Latino community has birthed just such a movement. If history is any guide, as Latinos and other immigrant communities raise core questions about their children's access to education, health care, jobs and safety, every American community will benefit hugely from their efforts. Including my own.