Reyes "El Grito" Welcoming Speech at the Bicentennial Celebration of the Mexican Independence Reception at LA Live on Sept. 15, 2010
Good evening y Buenas noches! Bienvenidos a El Grito 2010!
Tonight we gather for a very special celebration – the 200th anniversary of El Grito and the 100th anniversary of Mexico’s revolution.
What do we mean by “El Grito?” What is the cry? What is the shout?
El Grito is the famous cry that triggered Mexico’s successful war for independence.
El Grito was the cry of freedom by the peasants, a cry of freedom from the political, economic and religious hardships imposed on them by Spain.
Across the span of two hundred years, El Grito still echoes loudly, still cries out to us today. El Grito is not a thing of the past. It is the cry of people today. Right now.
El Grito is the cry of all immigrants, Mexicans, yes, but not Mexicans alone. It is the cry of all immigrants who come to this country seeking a better life.
What is El Grito? Ask the single mother who struggles to work in order to feed her children and still finds time to raise them, to nurture them, to teach them what it means to live free from want.
El Grito is the cry of every worker who asks to be paid a decent wage for a day’s work.
What is El Grito? It is the cry of our children eager for a good education, an education that will make them well-rounded citizens and participants in our democracy.
Many of us gathered here today are the sons and daughters of Mexican citizens that came to America to seek economic justice and a strong future for their children.
Tonight, I celebrate my parents who came to this country in the 1950s from Mexico City and Guanajuato. Tonight, we celebrate all of you who work honorably day and night to raise a family.
Today, we, the children of immigrants are parents ourselves. We are doctors, teachers, lawyers, bus drivers, restaurant, construction and hotel workers. And yes, politicians.
So what is El Grito? Call it the shout. Call it the cry.
Call it the Declaration of Independence. Call it the Emancipation Proclamation. Call it the Civil Rights Movement.
Call it what you will. Call it the cry of freedom, of tolerance, dignity and respect for all human beings.
That is El Grito. It is the cry that belongs to all of us.