I am feeling sad and angry today, so I painted one of my favorite symbols of America.
At the time the Statue of Liberty was placed, immigration to the US was still limited to “free white persons of good character.”
The Statue of Liberty was dedicated just two years after the Chinese Exclusion Act, which prohibited all Chinese immigration.
The Statue of Liberty became a national monument in 1924, the same year Arabs and Asians were banned from immigration(Africans were restricted).
The Immigration Act of 1924 established a preference for specific immigrant groups that would “preserve the ideal of America homogeneity.”
And this is why the Statue of Liberty means a lot to me. She has been physically present through a history of racist immigration laws. But her message of hope, and solidarity, and welcome still remain aspirational. She is not what America *is*, she is what America could be.
And that is why I, as an immigrant(from a majority Muslim country, no less), get teary every goddamn time I think of the Statue of Liberty.