The New Colossus
Sonnet on the Statue of Liberty by Emma Lazarus (1849 – 1887)
Originally published in 1883 to raise money for the statue pedestal’s construction.
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
I’m posting it here to preserve its sentiments for posterity. These are values I grew up with. I am a child of immigrants. Immigrants do not bring a country down, but add to its character. To me, this poem speaks of compassion, saying, “Don’t worry, we’re strong enough to take care of even you’re weakest.” By turning people away, we are sending the message that we are no longer capable—that we can’t handle it. But we all need to help each other. That’s how human beings survive.
I listened to a TEDx Talk that highlighted this very well. In it, the speaker talks about how she’s learned to get things done by sharing what she wants and what her challenges are. Someone, somewhere always has a way to help. She also goes around doing this for other people as well. This is her “practical” way to manifest reality.
Something so small changed the lives of many people. Many small things can add up to something great. This is my hope.