Giving Thanks On The 4th of July

The United States isn’t a perfect country, but it’s a good country, a country I love. What I most revere about the United States are the reformers and radicals who have fought to get this country to live up to its highest values. These reformers and radicals helped give this country a new understanding of what it means to be a country of freedom and equality.

So on this 4th of July I thank Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, George Washington, Thomas Paine and our Founding Fathers for giving us the Bill of Rights, the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

I thank Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Eugene Debs, W.E.B. DuBois, John Quincy Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Henry Thoreau, Emma Goldman, Booker T. Washington, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, Dorothy Day, Norman Thomas, Bayard Rustin, William Sloane Coffin, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Cesar Chavez, the Kennedy brothers, Harvey Milk, Dolores Huerta, Larry Kramer, Howard Zinn and other leaders of social movements that have helped women, minorities and the disenfranchised become more of a part of the American promise.

I thank the nameless abolitionists, women suffragists, union organizers, civil rights lawyers, populists, progressives, Wobblies, environmentalists, Catholic Workers, Freedom Riders, Chicano Rights activists, community organizers, feminists, Act Up activists, United Farmworkers, Asian American activists, and the marchers, protesters, petitioners, and boycotters who’ve participated in social movements that have changed this country for the better.

I thank my parents for immigrating to this country from the Philippines. And I thank all the immigrants from all over the world who’ve come to this country and made it this wonderful melting pot.

Here is a quote from Carlos Bulosan, Filipino American poet and labor activist in the 1930s and 1940s. This quote is from the introduction of Bulosan’s book America Is In The Heart:

America is not a land of one race or one class of men. We are all Americans that have toiled and suffered and known oppression and defeat, from the first Indian that offered peace in Manhattan to the last Filipino peapickers. America is not bound by geographical latitudes. America is not merely a land or an institution. America is in the hearts of that died for freedom; it is also in the eyes of men that are building a new world. America is a prophecy of a new society of men: of a system that knows no sorrow or strife or suffering. America is a warning to those who would try to falsify the ideals of free men.

America is also the nameless foreigner, the homeless refugee, the hungry boy begging for a job and the black body dangling from a tree. America is the illiterate immigrant who is ashamed that the world of books and intellectual opportunities is closed to him. We are all that nameless foreigner, that homeless refugee, that hungry boy, that illiterate immigrant and that lynched black body. all of us, from the first Adams to the last Filipino, native born or alien, educated or illiterate- we are America!

Here are some youtube videos of America that I like. The first three are from Schoolhouse Rock, a series of animated shorts that used to run on the Saturday morning cartoons in the 1970s.

Fireworks

The Preamble

Suffering Until Suffrage

Here is a scene from Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, directed by Republican Frank Capra and written by American Communist Sidney Buchman

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About angelolopez

I’ve wanted to be an artist all my life. Since I was a child I’ve drawn on any scrap of paper I could get a hold of. When I went to San Jose State University, I became more exposed to the works of the great fine artists and illustrators. My college paintings were heavily influenced by the humorous illustrations of Peter De Seve, an illustrator for the New Yorker magazine. I also fell under the spell of the great muralists of the 1930s, especially Thomas Hart Benton and Diego Rivera. I graduated with a degree in Illustration. Since my time in college, my goal has been to be a successful children’s book illustrator. I’ve illustrated 3 books: Two Moms the Zark and Me by Johnny Valentine in 1993; Night Travelers by Sue Hill in 1994; and Cherubic Children’s New Classic Story Book Volume 2 for Cherubic Press in 1998. I’ve painted murals for Lester Shields Elementary School in San Jose, the Berryessa branch of the San Jose Public Library, and Grace Community Church in Los Altos. I’ve had a few illustrations published in South Bay Accent Magazine and I will have an illustration published in the January/February issue of Tikkun magazine.
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