Celebrating Our #IAmAnImmigrant Stories in Los Angeles
Last Saturday, hundreds of Angelenos headed to Holman United Baptist Church for a vibrant evening of diverse story-sharing and music – all celebrating what it means to be American. Sharing the stage at the #IAmAnImmigrant: A Celebration of Our Stories event were actors and actresses, immigrants and musicians.
Speakers read reflections, personal memories, family stories, and speeches of undocumented immigrants, refugees, former Presidents of the United States, Native Americans, slaves, and Holocaust survivors alike. One of the stories, read by comedian and actress Cristela Alonzo, was from an El Salvadorian father, sharing how the immigration reforms introduced by Ronald Reagan in 1986 dramatically changed his life, and the lives of his two sons:
When I first arrived I came to Los Angeles. I lived in fear because I didn’t have papers. In Los Angeles, especially in downtown, there are big rats. At that time I didn’t have a car, so I had to wait for the 10pm bus. Whenever I saw those rats, I felt like them. They lived in the center of everything but they lived in the dark underbelly of the sewers. To equate myself to those rats, you can only imagine how afraid I actually was.
Performers also included: Guillermo Diaz, Harry Shum Jr., Sophie Cruz, Jose Antonio Vargas, Melonie Diaz, Jenny Yang, Taz Ahmed, Mariachi Arcoiris de Los Angeles, Bojana Novakovic, Amir Arison, Jubilant Voices of Holman UMC, as well as the cast of East Los High.
Together, we reaffirmed that our prosperity lies in diversity, our strength comes from our faith in our dreams, and our future depends on the health of our communities.
Thank you to all who attended for such a beautiful, touching, celebratory evening!
Take a look at the highlights below: