Monday, May 16, 2011

WATCH: Carlos Santana To "The People of Arizona": "You Should Be Ashamed of Yourselves"

The soft-spoken music legend Carlos Santana carried a big stick yesterday when he was honored by Major League Baseball with a "Beacon of Change" award before the MLB's annual Civil Rights Game in Atlanta.

On Friday, Georgia's governor had signed into law a bill that contains some similarities to Arizona's well-known SB 1070, dealing with enforcement of illegal immigration.  Santana took the microphone and said, "The people of Arizona, and the people of Atlanta, Georgia, you should be ashamed of yourselves."

After the on-field ceremony, he elaborated: "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."

Added Santana: "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."

He did not try to link Arizona's law - which is mainly on hold pending a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court on whether to accept an upcoming writ of certiorari from Arizona - with the upcoming MLB All-Star game in Phoenix.

We will have more to add to this post shortly, but here is a report of his on-field statements (with photos), as well as a link to a soft-spoken video of Santana speaking on the subject shortly before the game.

MLB video interviewing Santana before ceremony:

UPDATE:  Major League Baseball is doing its best to play down Santana's remarks during and after yesterday's game.  They have not released (or permitted the release of) the video of Santana's comments before Sunday's game or the "impromptu news conference" afterwards.  The interview of Santana from before or after Saturday night's ceremony is mixed so low as to be extremely difficult to hear his (more benign, broad) comments.  MLB's website article about the Sunday ceremonies ignores Santana's comments.  For his part, Santana makes no mention of his comments on his website, although he does have an announcement that he was going to receiving/accepting the award.

Here is a link to the Saturday night ceremony, at which Santana accepts the award (from Harry Belafonte).  He speaks at about the 5:40 mark, about how "deeply honored" he is to receive the award. 

Carlos Santana was born in Mexico, and grew up in the San Francisco area (California), before reaching great heights in the music world.

He is scheduled to play concerts in both Phoenix and Tucson in September 2011.

Santana at the ceremony (at about 10:37):  "And I want to say that it's a shame that those in charge (in Georgia) would pass a law - an immigration law - just like Arizona.  The sound that comes to my heart - and my fingers - is the sound that we are all in it together.  We don't leave anybody out.  This is why it's called universal tone."

Afterwards: "It allows me to give voice to the invisible ones."

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