Editor’s note: Edward Moreta (Class II) delivered the following remarks in an Upper School assembly on November 14th. Edward was one of eleven speakers, student and faculty, who shared passionate, personal narratives in response to the Presidential election.
Hi everyone, I’m Edward. I am a junior day-student from Dorchester, and I am Latino.
Both of my parents were born in the Dominican Republic, my mom coming here at the age of 10, and my dad coming here at 16. I think my being Latino has affected me heavily this week because the decision of this country as a whole told the growing Latino community that we are not allowed to come here for a better life and that we are not worthy enough to try and succeed; That we are not worthy enough to be here period. I truly believe that most Americans think that immigrants, in this new era, only want to come to America to leech off of those who have already succeeded here. But you cannot look at it from such a one-sided perspective. Many Latino immigrants, like my own family, must leave their country for reasons like political instability and aspire for chances like better education; They must leave their country, their family, their way of living, and sometimes even those they love because they want the opportunity just as so many people did decades ago. It is not easy for Latino immigrants; they are even told that something as personal as their language is not wanted in America. America is supposed to be a place of inclusion, and an equal opportunity for those who journey here, whether legal or illegal. And we all must remember that some immigrants in the time of Ellis and Angel Island, did come here illegally even with laws in place. In this tough time, some places in America are places of exclusion, and for me specifically as a Latino, Milton has been a very toxic environment because of the lack of communication and the assumptions people have made. But this environment does not have to be toxic.
Act, speak, and listen to your peers, and have conversations within your groups, because not one of us can accelerate time. Silence is an action as well; do not let this be your only action
Martin Luther King said, “It may well be that we will have to repent in this generation. Not merely for the vitriolic words and the violent actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence and indifference of the good people who sit around and say, “Wait on time.” And I ask for you to not wait on time, like many who say “it will all be okay.” Act, speak, and listen to your peers, and have conversations within your groups, because not one of us can accelerate time. Silence is an action as well; do not let this be your only action; teachers, hold students accountable, question them, do not let the things they say fly over everyone’s heads, whether you disagree or not, because it can be disrespectful to someone or spark more conversation; fellow students, push to listen every time, and try to see what it is like from every opinion that it is stated; the basics of a conversation are both talking and listening. Most of us love to talk, but few of us love to listen. Most of the time, especially in the classroom, people are forced to try on others ideas, and others can just say whatever they want, with no chastisement. Most of the time it is the obnoxious and rude comments that ring louder than truths and fears–and that is why our school becomes toxic and hostile in situations like these. Because people say these things, and no one wants to say their opinion in fear that they will be attacked or laughed at. And in this past week, that is exactly what happened. But we can all work harder from this past week, and even if some of y’all don’t, don’t put others down if you are not brave enough to try and see from the other side.