Extending a beacon of hope to all who seek refuge

By Divya Amladi
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The Statue of Liberty is regarded as a universal symbol of freedom and democracy. Photo: Ferdinand Stöhr on Unsplash

Liberty for whom? In honor of Independence Day, we brought together a diverse group of refugees, Temporary Protected Status holders, asylum seekers, and immigrants to recite “The New Colossus,” the poem at the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.

Over the decades, Emma Lazarus’ “The New Colossus” has come to symbolize America’s embrace of immigrants, a message of acceptance that greeted all those who passed through Ellis Island.

Chiseled into the base of the statue, our Lady of Liberty announces: "Give me your tired, your poor/ Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free/The wretched refuse of your teeming shore/Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me/I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

This video, created by filmmaker Mohannad Rachid, highlights the diversity of our nation, and our history of welcoming the most vulnerable. It presents a stark contrast to the Trump administration's discriminatory policies that are destroying American values, punishing families, and costing lives.

“For people who see migrants and refugees as a danger, I ask that they reevaluate the source of where their fear came from,” says Claudia, a young poet who came to the US from El Salvador with Temporary Protected Status. “This country represents nearly everything to me: family, friends, loved ones, my past, and my future.”

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