The Superman Question, Freedom University, and Celebrities


Immigration reform and celebrities mixed yesterday. I am not talking about the nannies and other service workers making easier la vida de los famosos, at least not directly.

Ayer, some famosos came out publicly in support of immigration reform.

The most exciting news, at least for me and some of my friends, was the appearance of Junot Díaz on The Colbert Report to talk about Georgia’s Freedom University.

If you’re not familiar with this school, here’s something from the MJ archive:

UGA professor Lorgia García Peña told me in an interview for MundoHispánico that apart from fighting for the Georgia laws to end, the idea propelling this initiative is to give as many undocumented youth the opportunity to get what currently is close to impossible in this state: a college education.

“The idea is that those who enroll in this free class can be exposed to the kind of course they would be taking in their freshman year,” she said.

The author of Drown, The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, and This is How You Lose Her, explained to Colbert that Georgia higher education officials banned undocumented students from the top five college and universities in the state.

Colbert, in his usual way, asked why should undocumented students get an American education.

From the show:

Why should they get this education? That’s our education. That’s American education. They’re taking American thoughts and ideas. That’s American knowledge”, Stephen Colbert asked.

“Here is what it is. This is the situation. Every single immigrant we have, undocumented or documented, is a future American. That’s just the truth of it”, Junot Díaz replied.

Díaz then went on to address what he called the Superman question.

“Superman comes, lands in America. He is illegal (sic). He is one of these kids. He’s wrapped up in a red bullfighter’s cape. And you’ve got to decide what we’re going to do with Superman. We’re going to give him the boot and say, ‘You know what, you’re an illegal; you’re not an American.’ Or we’re going to have compassion and say, ‘Listen, this kid was brought here before he knew and he didn’t have a say.’ But he’s living in this country, this Superman. And I think he’s an American.”

Junot Díaz also said that the term illegal immigrant is an oxymoron and that it is used to attack people rather than to serve any other purpose.

Beyond that, he said, Americans must decide what to do with what he called “the reality on the ground.”

“We have a whole bunch of young people and whole bunch of families. Are we going to disrupt these families and tear them apart? Or we’re going to think… …we’ve got to extend the franchise. And we’ve got to start thinking about this country of how do we pull folks together not how do we attack them and afflict them”, he said.

The writer also tried to make Colbert to commit to visit Freedom U in the future, but the host instead pulled out a sweatshirt with the school initials: F-U.

Pura hilaridad.

Other famosos

Earlier, el día comenzó con la noticia de que la cantante Olga Tañón will join the March 19 march for immigration reform.

From the story on El Diario de Nueva York:

“The time is now…porque los indocumentados están haciendo su lucha para sobrevivir en Estados Unidos de América y cada día se les complica más”, comentó la intérprete de “Basta ya”.

Más tarde comenzó a circular una nota en la que el magnate y creador de Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, está formando un grupo de cabildeo en Silicon Valley para impulsar una reforma migratoria.

Uno podría pensar que su esfuerzo would focus on pushing for high-tech visas, but the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Facebook guy is thinking in a more comprehensive approach.

From the AP:

Zuckerberg will be joining with other high-tech executives and has already signed up several high-profile consultants, including Joe Lockhart, former Clinton White House press secretary now at the Glover Park Group, and Rob Jesmer, formerly executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

High-tech companies have stepped-up their lobbying on immigration to get more visas for high-tech workers, but the people involved say Zuckerberg’s interest is broader and includes citizenship for those here illegally.

Creo que estos esfuerzos, apuntalados en diferentes frentes, se deben recibir con beneplácito. Yet, in the case of Zuckerberg and his Silicon Valley fellow millionaires, it is important that they understand lo que la gente quiere y necesita. De lo contrario, the hype they could build would only push la misma carreta que en vez de ayudar is a great obstacle para nuestra comunidad.

About Gustavo Martínez Contreras

was born in Texas, brewed in Mexico City, seasoned in the Mexico-United States border, aged walking the streets of Philadelphia. He had a short-lived stint eating grits, fried chicken, and peaches in Atlanta. He later became a béisbol writer for El Diario de Nueva York. He has written about immigrant communities in English, Spanish, and some Spanglish. Although he does not have a shelf full of awards, Gustavo has received thank you notes and hugs from people who have trusted him with their stories. His work has appeared in Voices of New York, El Diario/La Prensa, Dallas’ Al Día, The Philadelphia Public School Notebook, Philadelphia Weekly, Radio Bilingüe, Latina Lista,, among others. He is currently pursuing a master's degree at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.
This entry was posted in dream act, dreamers, Georgia, Immigration, Immigration Reform, Latino issues, migración, politics, Reforma migratoria, Social Justice, Uncategorized, undocumented and unafraid and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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