Dear Queens Tribune readers:
I would like to congratulate the Queens Tribune on its 47th anniversary and for this special issue focusing on immigration.
New York State and Queens, in many ways, embody the American ideal. We are the laboratory of the American experiment in democracy. Ellis Island is where generations signed the American compact. The Statue of Liberty stands in our harbor and New Yorkers hold the torch, and today, we hold the torch higher than ever before. Queens is where many of our immigrant brothers and sisters settle, looking for a better life for their families, making it one of the most diverse places in our State and in the entire world.
But that American ideal is being challenged. There is fear and anger being misdirected toward people who we see as different than ourselves – people who look different, who have a different skin color, a different religion, a different sexuality and they have become a target for this anger. It goes beyond politics: it questions our American character – who we are and what we believe.
Demonizing our differences injects a social poison into our nation’s blood stream. Especially this country, because this is a nation built on differences. This country is not founded on one race, or one religion, or one culture. This nation is founded on one ideal and one compact. And that compact has been agreed to by many races and cultures over centuries.
The demonization of differences erodes our democracy at its core and attacks the foundation of our nation.
New York has a special responsibility. We have always been the progressive capital of this country. We have always been the social conscience. We know what it is to stand up and remind this country what it means to be an American. That our core American belief is that we are one nation, under God, indivisible, where there is liberty and justice for all.
That what makes this country special on the globe is that we afford religious freedom to all individuals and we discriminate against none. The nation’s motto is “E pluribus unum” – out of many, one. The divisiveness must stop and New Yorkers will not be bystanders to injustice. That is not the New York way. We will fight sexism and racism and bigotry wherever we see it. We will stand up for the rights of immigrants because we believe our diversity is a strength, not a weakness.
If we deport immigrants then I ask, “Who is safe and who will be left?” Because we are all immigrants. If we deport immigrants then the only ones left will be the Iroquois, the Sioux and the Cherokee and the Apache. Otherwise remember, we are all visitors to this great land.
New York’s message is a message of tolerance, brotherhood and unity. It is not a political message. It is not a Democratic or Republican message. It is not liberal or conservative; it is the Golden Rule that is the bedrock for faith for people around the world: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” New York will also ensure that every person has legal protections, whether they can afford it or not, because in New York, we believe in justice for all.
New York State will remain true to the American ideal. Remember, when immigrants succeed, we all succeed!
I want to thank the Queens Tribune for sharing the tremendous resources available to our state’s newcomers.
Best wishes for another 47 years of keeping your readers informed,
Andrew M. Cuomo,
Governor, State of New York