Heartfelt thanks to all those who posted comments on my TEDx talk on the Quran — I’m immensely honored and grateful. (And thanks too for the large-scale use of those email and Facebook buttons!)
Now here’s the newly released video of another dynamite talk given at TEDxRainier on 10/10/10, by the brave and indomitable immigration activist Pramila Jayapal, executive director of We Are One America.
Since she came onstage right after me, I watched her backstage on monitors, which might be just as well: if I’d been in the audience, I’d have been a major disruptive force. “Yes!” I kept saying. “Right on!” “Go for it!” “Obama, hire this woman!” As she tackled the forces of restriction and anti-immigrant bias head-on, her words had me dancing in delight, waving my hands and cheering.
“Instead of fighting migration, we need to embrace it,” she said. “We need to think of it as essential and to manage it in ways that not only feed and meet our economic needs, but actually feed our souls, as human beings connected in a global world.” Restrictionist policies are counterproductive — in fact self-destructive. “If we surround ourselves with thicker and thicker walls that prevent the flow of people and ideas into our country, we will dry up and die.”
And in a deliberate echo of John Lennon — how apt that I’m posting this on the 30th anniversary of his murder — she ends with a call to imagine how things could, and should, be.
But what am I doing merely quoting Pramila? If threats of lynching won’t silence her, why should I?
From one immigrant to another, Pramila — deepest thanks for such passion and eloquence.