Happy Martin Luther King day
Teresa Leger Fernandez:
Happy Martin Luther King day. And here we have a, there’s a capital. I’m walking back from getting my vaccine.
Did you get your vaccine?
No not my vaccine, my test.
Oh, okay. Do you guys get to get vaccinated?
Yeah. Under the continuity of government, the attending physician is recommending that Congress people get vaccinated because we are required in order to be able to pass laws and appropriate budgets and impeach and tabulate votes, certify votes. So, and we get on planes to go back and forth between our district. So we are under a continuity of government protocol. They are urging and recommending congresspeople to get vaccinated and some staffers, not all, but a limited number of staffers because we have to operate, right? And I think that’s important. I mean, I’m getting on planes back and forth. And the least risk I can bring back to New Mexico the better. I take lots of tests, you saw my Twitter, I fly with a K-95 and a shield and gloves. But having a vaccine will keep both me and my constituents safer. So yeah, I’m doing it.
I wanted to ask you, if you have any reflections that you’d like to share with us about Martin Luther King day, what Martin Luther King means to you and how issues of race have affected you personally and your family.
Yeah, sure. So, you know what was interesting? I gave a couple of speeches today to Martin Luther King celebrations. And what struck me was two things about Martin Luther King that I highlighted. One is his demand and his acknowledgement that lies need to be confronted, and that truth needs to overcome. That you cannot bury truth, and truth will come forward. One of his most quoted lines is that the arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice. But right after that, it’s like we shall overcome because the arc of the universe bends towards justice, we shall overcome because truth cannot be buried. We shall overcome because lies will not continue. So that the idea that it’s truth that is so important that we must seek the truth and speak the truth. And in a sense, that’s the moment we’re in, right? That there is a series of big lies about the elections, about white nationalists, about so much, about what Trump promised to do for people who are hurting and never did.
Because it was a lie, there was never an intent to do any of those very important things like infrastructure and bringing down the cost of prescription drugs and all kinds of necessary things that people who are hurting want and need. And so they listened to these big lies and all the medium lies and all the lies that he did. And so I think really important thing to pull out of that, that we must confront the lies and we must seek the truth and honor the truth and highlight the truth and hold it accountable, which explains the impeachment and why that was important. But then the next thing that in that same speech, which is we must be awake to the revolution, which was his last sermon. He spoke about the fact that we must either live together as brothers or die together as fools, fail as fools. I can’t remember the exact quote, but you know that we are all intertwined, that we are part of the same fabric of destiny and we’re all interconnected.
And that really is where we’re at right now, with all of our major crises that we face are things that we face that must have collective action, that affect all of us. And that any one of us who is not protected from COVID, who is at risk, makes everybody at risk. We all impact each other. And so all of our solutions have to include each other. And I have been speaking since I began my campaign for Congress about a beloved community, which is his term. And the reason I do that is because I just love my community. And I see community as that all interrelated and expanding outward. I’ve often talked about the lessons the war chief taught me about that you do your prayers not just for your own Pueblo, your own community or your own family, because then it’s not a true prayer if you do not expand it out to include everybody and everything, and the fauna and the flora as well. And so that’s the thing that struck me that I wanted to speak about today, because that is exactly where we’re at, that we are now in this moment where we have to address something for everybody. And that’s where we’re at. That’s the opportunity that we’re at, moving beyond the crisis. We are now at the opportunity of what do we do to address it. And so that’s what I wanted to focus on.
What I did focus on the idea that you inspire with love a lot better than you destroy with hate and that we are faced with those options. And there are those who want to destroy with hate, and those of us who want to work to create opportunity, have to do it from an inspiring, with love type of place. My own family, we’re Latinos. I often tell the story of my dad, I know when he was growing up, they would take the cattle to the ranch. And it was west Texas, eastern New Mexico. And they couldn’t go to restaurants because “No Mexicans or dogs” were allowed, but that kind of racism was real and present. And he always reminded us about it. And about the fact that they were punished for speaking Spanish at school and all those kinds of things, which is why both my mother and father, rather than internalizing it and becoming victims, they became advocates for change and advocates for the bilingual education act and all of these amazing things that they always saw that what you did, whatever, the martial arts term is, you take that and you don’t internalize it. You turn it back and do something good with it. So right now we’re in a place where those lies have been directed at immigrant communities from the day that Trump announced, because you have to blame somebody if you’re not going to blame the system. So immigrants, and so many others have been scapegoated because they want to blame something rather than the fact that the system is broken. So those are kind of the things, but what I want to end on is a real much more positive. It’s like, Oh my God, you’re going to be able to start doing stuff. That’s what’s exciting about Martin Luther King today is, yeah, all that ugliness came and it exposed the white nationalism, but on Wednesday, the opportunity starts happening. So it’s really exciting right now.
So Wednesday, obviously the inauguration, and we’ll talk about that. I want to talk, maybe we can do this tomorrow, about what the security situation looks like. Just what it feels like to be walking and navigating around Washington DC. at this time.
I will say I just saw something. Let me see if I’m—isn’t that pretty, it’s a rosebush. It’s January. And there are like frozen roses on this rose bush. That’s a little bit of a symbol of—I don’t know, hope—although it’s also, it’s also a symbol of climate change. Cause they should all be falling off, but still, it’s kind of pretty. So the security situation, I mean, it’s overwhelming. I feel safe, but I also am sad because we don’t want, like, after 9-11, so much of our country became, security got hardened. And I hope this is not permanent, but they did at least give the poor National Guard, you know, on three days ago when I was there, I took some picture of all the National Guard, sleeping on those hard marble floors. Now I went through and they actually have cots, you know, those little cots. So at least they have something softer. So that’s nice, you know? Cause you feel, you feel for them.