Three awards were presented on Sunday. The Beacon of Life Award went to Cubs great and Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Ernie Banks. The Beacon of Hope Award went to actor Morgan Freeman. Finally, the Beacon of Change Award went to Carlos Santana.
It was on Friday, two days before the ceremony, that Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed a bill, HR70, which is very similar in nature to Arizona's SB1070 law. HR70 give state and local police the power to demand immigration papers from people they suspect to be undocumented. In addition, it requires many employers to check the immigration status of new hires.
When Carlos Santana took the microphone, he said that he was representing all immigrants. Remember, this was Major League Baseball's Civil Rights Game. When Santana added, "The people of Arizona, and the people of Atlanta, Georgia, you should be ashamed of yourselves," the cheers quickly turned to boos.
It was made clear that one shouldn't talk about Civil Rights during the Civil Rights Game.
The game began in 2007, and has had three host stadiums, so far, with each on hosting for two consecutive years. First was AutoZone Park in Memphis, TN, for 2007 and 2008. Next was the Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, OH, and now Atlanta's Turner Field will host for 2011 and 2012.
Later, in the press box, Carlos Santana held an impromptu press conference to further address the issue. He said,
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.
"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."
Arizona's SB1070 is reportedly on its way to the Supreme Court, if Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has her way.
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