Story 1996-10-27 Los Angeles, CA

27.10.96 Los Angeles, CA, intro to ´The Promised Land´
´´(?)….I´m not used to this and uh, and Jesse Jackson just gave the speech that I was gonna give so…but uh, I´m here today because I believe it´s very important to California to stop Proposition 209, uh….I don´t know if any of us can look into our hearts and say that we live in race- and gender-blind society, a society where women and people of color have the same opportunities as the rest of Americans, if you can, then there´s a job waiting for you at Disneyland (chuckles) but uh, affirmative action isn´t perfect but it´s worked, it´s been good public policy, it was founded in the search for the kind of just and equitable society that many of us have dreamed that America could be for so long….a dream that my kids might someday grow up in….uh (?)(chuckles) because a, uh, country grounded in less than equal opportunity for all isn´t good enough, a country grounded in fear of one another won´t stand, people especially in this city have lived through the consequences and have seen where that fear takes us….Martin Luther King had a vision of the Promised Land as a land rooted neither in prejudice or privilege but in (?) hard-won sense of community rooted in the opportunity for every man and woman to live a fruitful life, to raise themselves up, to contribute, to realise the best of their potentials, to have a decent job, to able to someday turn to their children and say ´It doesn´t matter if you´re a man or a woman, if you´re black, white, yellow or brown, in America you´ll have a chance to realise your dream, to get the education and to do the work that fulfills you and that brings meaning and purpose to your life….affirmative action has been an effective tool in beginning to realise that vision but that vision has not been realised and Governor Wilson and the people that are trying to convince you, the citizens of this state, that it has, are doing a great, great disservice…..and uh, they´re fanning the flames of political cynicism and they´re using this issue to divide us all in race and gender lines, in a way that is dangerous and insulting to all of us….the seeds of injustice and racism do not sleep and neither can we, all Californians of good will must stand shoulder to shoulder and say that we´re better than this and we won´t be fooled….I believe, uh, I believe that Promised Land that Martin Luther King so eloquently envisioned and died for is still attainable but it´s not here and we´re not there, it´s somewhere up ahead, maybe in my kids´ future, maybe in your kids´ future, I hope so, but uh, right now we need to protect the tool that will allow us to build the kind of country where future generations will find their opportunities, their rights and their dreams well-protected, that´s our job now….and uh….so ….there´s battles to be won, let´s stand together in defense of that Promised Land, vote ´No´, stop Proposition 209….Jesse said he wants to borrow that speech next time (chuckles)….”

Compiled by : Johanna Pirttijärvi

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