The following letter, directed at the readers of Chicago Heights Patch, was submitted by Chicago Heights Mayor David Gonzalez.
It is in reference to the Mexican holiday Cinco de Mayo.
Today I was fortunate enough to be invited to and attended the Cinco de Mayo celebration at District 170, Garfield School. The children and faculty put on a tremendous program that embraced the pride of the Latino culture. Cinco de Mayo is a day that is celebrated more in the United States than Mexico itself. It is a day that many Latinos celebrate their pride and heritage.
In the State of Puebla in Mexico this day is also celebrated to commemorate democracy and freedom. It was on this day in 1862 that the Mexican army in Puebla fought of the French army of 8,000 soldiers with only 4,000 Mexican troops. The Mexican Army had just fought 3 major wars and the French saw this as a chance to occupy Mexico because the Mexican army was tired and bankrupt. The occupation of Mexico in 1862 would allow France to help the Confederate Soldiers fighting the North in our own U.S. Civil War. It was the Mexican victory in 1862 that postponed France’s involvement of the American Civil War for over a year.
The Mexican troops that were outnumbered two to one fought for their ideas and principles. Even though they knew they were outnumbered, it did not stop them from fighting a cause that was dear to them. That cause was Freedom.
Today in the United States we continue to fight many battles that are dear to us as those that were important to those soldiers in 1862. Martin Luther King fought for equality among all races and to end poverty. And though he was out numbered, he marched forward because he believed in the cause.
Today many children that were born in Latin American countries and were brought to this country as minors do not enjoy the rights of citizenship. They had no choice when their parents made a decision to bring them into this country without the proper documentation. These children have now grown up and the United States is the only country they have known. Passage of the American Dream Act will allow these children to continue to be productive U.S citizens and contribute so much to our society.
Many want to make illegal immigration the scape goat to our weak economy. Many saw Martin Luther King’s views as radical and that he would ruin our country. The odds were against the Mexican troops in 1862 as they are against us now for equality, ending hunger and immigration reform. But as the troops prevailed on May 5, 1862, our great country one day will also win the battle against racism, hunger and we will all share equally to all the great things this country has to offer including citizenship under the American Dream Act.
I want to thank District 170 and Garfield School for reminding me what this day is all about. My thanks to all the Students and Staff that put on such a wonderful event.
-Mayor David Gonzalez
Take a look at past letters to the editor in Chicago Heights Patch: