Carlos Santana Speaks Out Against New Immigration Laws of Arizona and Georgia

by on May 17, 2011 · 9 comments

in Civil Rights, Popular

By Cindy Boren / Washington Post / May 16, 2011

Carlos Santana was given the Beacon of Change award before the Atlanta Braves’ fifth annual Civil Rights Game on Sunday [May 15, 2011] against the Philadelphia Phillies and he used the opportunity to criticize Arizona and Georgia for their new immigration laws.

Saying he represented immigrants, the Grammy winner said at Turner field, “The people of Arizona, and the people of Atlanta, Georgia, you should be ashamed of yourselves.”

On Friday, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed a bill that requires many employers to check the immigration status of new hires and authorizes law enforcement officers to check the status of some suspects. The law, one of the toughest in the nation, is similar in some respects to one enacted last year in Arizona.

“This law is not correct. It’s a cruel law, actually,” Santana, who emigrated to San Francisco in the 1960s, said after the ceremony. “This is about fear. Stop shucking and jiving. People are afraid we’re going to steal your job. No, we aren’t. You’re not going to change sheets and clean toilets. …

“This is the United States. This is the land of the free. If people want the immigration laws to keep passing, then everybody should get out and leave the American Indians here.”

Chicago Cubs Hall of Famer was presented with the Beacon of Life award to Cubs Hall of Famer Ernie Banks and actor Morgan Freeman was given the Beacon of Hope award. “Today” co-host Al Roker was the moderator and the ceremony featured a tribute to Hank Aaron. Commissioner Bud Selig attended the ceremony.

Here is a much better article on this ….

Santana is Booed for Using Baseball’s Civil Rights Game to Speak Out for Civil Rights

by Dave Zirin / The Nation / May 16, 2011

Major League Baseball’s annual Civil Rights Game was poised to be a migraine-inducing exercise in Orwellian irony. Forget about the fact that Civil Rights was to be honored in Atlanta, where fans root for a team called the Braves and cheer in unison with the ubiquitous “tomahawk chop.”

Forget about the fact that the Braves have been embroiled in controversy since pitching coach Roger McDowell aimed violent, homophobic threats at several fans. Forget that this is a team that has done events with Focus on the Family, an organization that is to Civil Rights what Newt Gingrich is to marital fidelity.

The reason Atlanta was such a brutally awkward setting for a Sunday Civil Rights setting, was because Friday saw the Governor of Georgia, Nathan Deal, sign HR 87, a law that shreds the Civil Rights of the state’s Latino population. Modeled after Arizona’s horrific and unconstitutional SB 1070, HR 87 authorizes state and local police the federal powers to demand immigration papers from people they suspect to be undocumented. Those without papers on request will find themselves behind bars. Civil rights hero, Atlanta’s John Lewis has spoken out forcefully against the legislation saying “This is a recipe for discrimination. We’ve come too far to return to the dark past.”

But there was Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig, celebrating civil rights in the Georgia, and chortling excitedly about the 2011 All-Star game in Arizona. In the hands of Selig, irony becomes arsenic. Thank God that Commisioner Selig was stupid enough to choose the Civil Rights Game to honor, among others, the great musician Carlos Santana. Santana was supposed to be the Latino stand-in, a smiling symbol of baseball’s diversity. And maybe, he would even play a song!

But Bud picked the wrong Latino. Carlos Santana took the microphone and said that he was representing all immigrants. Then Santana added, “The people of Arizona, and the people of Atlanta, Georgia, you should be ashamed of yourselves.” In a perfect display of Gov. Nathan Deal’s Georgia, the cheers quickly turned to boos. Yes, Carlos Santana was booed on Civil Rights Day in Atlanta for talking about Civil Rights.

Then in the press box, Santana held an impromptu press conference where he let loose with an improvised speech to rival one of his virtuoso guitar solos. He said, “This law is not correct. It’s a cruel law, actually, This is about fear. Stop shucking and jiving. People are afraid we’re going to steal your job. No we aren’t. You’re not going to change sheets and clean toilets. I would invite all Latin people to do nothing for about two weeks so you can see who really, really is running the economy. Who cleans the sheets? Who cleans the toilets? Who babysits? I am here to give voice to the invisible.”

He went on to say:

“Most people at this point they are either afraid to really say what needs to be said, this is the United States the land of the free. If people want the immigration law to keep passing in every state then everybody should get out and just leave the American Indians here. This is about Civil Rights.”

Where was Bud Selig during all this drama? It seems that Selig slunk out of a stadium backdoor in the 5th inning. If there is one thing Bud has become an expert at, it’s ducking his head when the issues of immigration, civil rights, and Major League Baseball collide. If Selig really gave a damn about Civil Rights, he would heed the words of Carlos Santana. He would move the 2011 All-Star Game out of Arizona. He would recognize that the sport of Jackie Robinson, Roberto Clemente and Curt Flood has an obligation to stand for something more than just using their memory to cover up the injustices of the present. If Bud Selig cared about Civil Rights, he would above all else, have to develop something resembling a spine. But if Bud is altogether unfamiliar with the concept of courage, he received one hell of an object lesson from Carlos Santana.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar thinking out loud May 17, 2011 at 2:18 pm

Interesting article:
I wonder why in his last 75 concerts , many all over the World he has not done/will not do one show in his native country ….NOT ONE SHOW …..hummm.
Maybe it should be the Beacon of $hange….

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avatar Molly May 17, 2011 at 3:14 pm

Carlos is from Tijuana. Back in the mid-90’s he gave a great concert at the bullring at Playa TJ, and had his dad up on stage with him.

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avatar thinkin out loud May 17, 2011 at 3:25 pm

Mexico is his native country….I just find it surprising in light of his remarks that out of 75 of his past or upcomimg shows None are in his native country….
If Tom Petty did that or Lady Gaga or Jack Johnson people in this country would say what the heck is going on…..Mexico is a big country with plenty of places to play…..
I have plenty of his vinyl albums from years ago…..

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avatar Gringo Grande May 17, 2011 at 4:29 pm

It isn’t true that Carlos Santana has not played in México. In fact he played in Tijuana about 2 or 3 years ago during the city’s anniversary. He has also played in Mexico City and in his native state of Jalisco.
But what happened during the award ceremony is more important than whether or not he has played in Mexico. The only thing missing at Turner Field was the crowd chanting USA USA.

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avatar editordude May 17, 2011 at 4:40 pm

Readers: we have added an even better article about Santana in Atlanta.

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avatar thinking out loud May 17, 2011 at 4:42 pm

Well of course he has played in Mexico. What I said was the last 75 shows he will do or has done have not included Mexico. That’s all.
I was surprised at that considering his remarks at the ceremony…His representing immigrants is fine …I just would expect him to play a few shows in his native country. He plays World Wide if you check his concert schedule but avoids Mexico.

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avatar Gringo Grande May 17, 2011 at 4:45 pm

Got it.

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avatar OB Joe May 17, 2011 at 4:44 pm

Viva Santana!

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avatar mr.rick May 17, 2011 at 7:13 pm

I guess every one has forgotten that California is Mexico.

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