JOSE-ANTONIO OROSCO – The US has always struggled with how to incorporate diverse peoples into a modern democracy. Philosopher Horace Kallen insists that part of this work has to be about our imagination and the way we talk and listen to one another across cultural differences. Trumpâ€™s plan would be like insisting that all voices of the choir have to sing baritone in order to make beautiful music. His plan is not innovative; itâ€™s tone deaf to the current needs of our society.
JOSE-ANTONIO OROSCO – About a century ago, Americans struggled to find a language to describe what a multicultural, racially diverse, and democratic society would look like. One group of progressive thinkers, led by figures such as John Dewey, Alain Locke, and Jane Addams, urged us to imagine a nation where immigrants were not forced to assimilate to a single mold, but encouraged to keep their traditions and enlarge the possibilities of what it means to be an American. This theme is missing from public discussions on immigration today. But if we are looking to the past for hints today about what to do with our immigration policy that do not involve reinventing a white nationalist vision, then perhaps this is a conversation we need to remember.
JOSE-ANTONIO OROSCO – As someone who regularly teaches about the political philosophy of Martin Luther King, Jr., I often spend time discussing with students the ways in which Kingâ€™s ideas are taken out of context and turned into sound bites in order to support positions he would not himself have taken.
JOSE-ANTONIO OROSCO – Fifty years ago this past March, a small group of activists left Delano, California and began a march to Sacramento to raise national awareness about the plight of farmworkers. By the time the march made it to the state capitol, its ranks had swelled to over 10,000 people. California politicians and their agri-business supporters realized that they were facing a major civil rights movement in the Central Valley, and that its leader, Cesar Chavez, was someone to contend with. The importance of the Sacramento March today is more than just historical. The march is a lesson about how to use nonviolence to respond to economic hardship in a way that builds a powerful force for justice.
JOSE-ANTONIO OROSCO – Today, the annihilation of humanity looms again as a possibility because of climate change. In 1964, King could not have imagined the particular features of global environmental destruction that we now face. Yet, he had reflected carefully on the forms of action needed to avert mass extinction before, so his work can still be useful today in thinking about directions for the climate justice movement.