Obama Dedicated to
Latinos at Inauguration
Translated By Slava Osowska
21 January 2013
Edited by Gillian Palmer
Argentina - Clarin - Original Article (Spanish)
Never before has a U.S. presidential inauguration had such a strong Latino flavor. Barack Obama took the oath of office for his second term surrounded by Hispanic celebrities, greatly acknowledging that community, which was key to his reelection. One of the leader’s first gestures was to promise that the United States would find a way to extend a welcome to immigrants struggling to find opportunities.
In his inaugural address in front of the Capitol building, Obama affirmed that the journey that was started by the founding fathers would not be complete “until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity.” Obama knows quite well that a large proportion of them are Latinos, especially Mexican.
Along with same-sex marriage and gun control, Obama declared immigration to be on the agenda for today’s generation. “Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law,” added the president, “for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.”
The President also mentioned the small town of Newtown, Connecticut, where on December 14, 20 children and six teachers were killed in a shooting that brought to life the difficult debate on controlling the sale and possession of firearms in this country. “Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown know that they are cared for and cherished and always safe from harm.”
Concluding Obama’s public swearing-in ceremony in front of the Capitol building, the singer Beyoncé provided a glamorous final touch.
Accompanied by her husband Jay-Z, the R&B diva was charged with bringing the first part of the festivities to a close, singing the United States national anthem.
After her performance, Beyoncé, who played a large role last year in Obama’s reelection campaign, kissed the president on the cheek before quickly leaving the stage.
During the formalities, numerous nods were given to the Hispanic community. Just before Beyoncé, Reverend Luis León, of Cuban origin, was tasked with delivering the ceremony’s final benediction, which was sprinkled with a few words in Spanish. “Mr. President and Vice President, may God bless all your days,” he said in Spanish at the end of his speech.
But the Hispanic feel of the event didn’t end there. The poet chosen to recite the inaugural poem, Richard Blanco, was also Cuban, and became not only the first Latino with the honor of having that task, but also the first openly gay man to participate in that part of the ceremony.
Also, the first Hispanic Supreme Court justice, Sonia Sotomayor, made history today by becoming the first Latina to swear in a vice president – Joe Biden. Actually, Biden had made another nod to Latinos by participating in the 2013 Latino Inaugural Gala, one of the Inauguration events at the Kennedy Center, where he thanked them for the support they gave to allow him and Obama to win reelection. He also said that “America owes you” and declared, “This is your moment.” Hispanics “spoke in a way that the world… could not fail to hear,” he noted.
At the 2013 Latino Inaugural Gala, the vice president listened to the Puerto Rican singer José Feliciano, who began the performances by singing the national anthem. The actress Eva Longoria, a co-chair of Obama’s campaign, hosted the event, which also included Antonio Banderas, Rosario Dawson, Marc Anthony and Rita Moreno.
Obama and Biden took their oaths privately yesterday; today they did so publicly, before hundreds of thousands of supporters at the Capitol. Thousands of them were Latinos.
The actress Eva Longoria, the singer José Feliciano and the Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Flórez were some of the famous Hispanics who traveled to the U.S. capital to participate in Obama’s swearing-in ceremony. In November, Obama was reelected in part thanks to the increasingly important Latino vote.
Latinos will also be featured in the traditional inaugural balls today. Obama will be at the Washington Convention Center, where Mexican rockers Maná and Marc Anthony will be singing.
“Latinos played a critical role in this year’s election and helped tip the scales in President Obama’s victory. But we are not waiting another four years to make an impact on our country’s future,” said Eva Longoria recently.
Obama, who received 71 percent of the Hispanic vote in the November elections, promised that he will soon be seeking migratory reforms that would create legal status for the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States, the majority of whom are from Latin America.
Latinos preferred Obama over his Republican rival Mitt Romney, above all because of the Republican’s unyielding position on the subject of immigration. Today Obama made it clear that he was listening to Latinos and was taking them into consideration. He really is.
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