The New, New Colossus
Politics and Activism

The New, New Colossus

She lifts her lamp beside the golden door.


The Statue of Liberty, originally known as Liberty Enlightening the World, standing 305 feet and 6 inches tall and weighing in at 225 tons of copper, welcomes those entering New York Harbor with a seven pointed crown (one point for each continent), a torch, a tablet (inscribed with the date July 4, 1776) and broken shackles at her feet, representing freedom and democracy in the face of oppression and tyranny.

In 1886, Lady Liberty first lifted her torch to welcome those coming to the United States in search of a better life. As a gift from the French to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, Frederic Auguste Bartholdi designed the statue based on an idea suggested by Edouard de Laboulaye in 1865.

This gift represented the relationship between the two countries that helped gain the United States freedom and democracy during the American Revolution. Bartholdi discovered Bedloe’s Island in New York Harbor as the perfect place for the monument. Conveniently enough, about a half a mile away from Bedloe’s Island is Ellis Island.

In 1890, Ellis Island was designated as the first federal immigration station by President Harrison. Between 1892 and 1954, over 12 million immigrants entered the United States through Ellis Island. Many wars to reclaim land and establish countries and empires such as the Franco-Prussian War occurred in the late 1800s while World War I and World War II and the effects of these wars dominated life for the better part of the 20th century. Twelve million people were leaving their homes and everything they had known due to political instability, restrictive religious laws and deteriorating economic conditions.

Today, it would seem as though we are back in a similar situation. In 2015, 63.5 million people were displaced worldwide. Immigrants and refugees from places like the Middle East and North Africa are fleeing civil war, hatred and oppression of various forms. There are threats of terror, acts of violence and ignorance to many issues, which allows their perpetuation. To make everything seemingly worse, there has been a ban placed to keep people from coming into the United States to seek refuge.

There’s a lot of debate over this ban, even whether or not it is a ban (but the President called it a ban before this debate even started, so I think it’s a ban). However, while everyone is debating, there’s one thing a lot of people have forgotten. Among the anger, hatred, and fear, we have forgotten that those seeking refuge are people. They are people looking for safety. They are people looking for a new life. They are people seeking access to basic human rights, and human rights cannot have borders or walls or bans forced upon them by an executive order.

I’m not suggesting that the system that was used at the end of the 19th century and into the 20th to admit immigrants into the United States was perfect nor am I suggesting that we let anyone and everyone into the United States today. However, before we ban people and force stereotypes upon them, I think we should remember the Statue of Liberty.

On the pedestal of the monument, “The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus reminds us of how we became the nation we are today: a nation of immigrants and refugees of war and oppression. With this poem, we are reminded that we welcomed the tired, the poor and the huddled masses. We welcomed those without a home. Many of our relatives, mine included, have likely passed through New York Harbor.

Lady Liberty herself reminds us of our history. It reminds us that we fought for democracy and freedom, which is not something that is solely exclusive to the United States. I encourage you to place yourselves in the shoes of the people who have been turned away throughout our history: Jewish people fleeing Europe during World War II, immigrants from Mexico and South America seeking security, refugees from Syria fleeing a civil war, and so many others seeking the asylum of democracy and freedom represented in New York Harbor. I encourage you to remember our history and our values as a nation. I encourage you to see the humanity of all people and to realize that we’re all just trying to make it.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

10 Etsy Father's Day Gifts Under $40 To Support Your Dad And Small Businesses

Stores may still be closed, but the internet is still wide open. So, while you're already shopping online check out Etsy for your Father's Day needs and support small creators.

As June approaches, Father's Day is coming up quickly with it. While they may not ask for much, it's always a nice gesture to give your dad something special to share your appreciation. Although, at the same time, it might be difficult to find the perfect gift either for their humor or that will be practical.

On a normal occasion, it's simple to find a gift for your father figures in stores, but for the times we're currently in our access has become very limited. Small and independent businesses need help now more than ever, so what better time than now to support them? If you're still stuck on what to give for Father's Day, look to this list for some inspiration that won't hurt your wallet too much.

Keep Reading... Show less

The worlds of beauty and fashion often collide, whether for good or bad. In both, underrepresentation has always been, and remains to be, a major unresolved issue. After the recent killing of George Floyd, many people are rightfully enraged, compounded by the fact his death in police custody wasn't an isolated incident.

Police brutality against Black people is not new, and isn't going away till we start dedicating resources to fighting it. Many of us, as individuals, have only begun in the last week scratching the surface of what it means to educate ourselves on race, historical race relations, and how to be an ally to the Black community.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Feel A Lil' Better: Because You Can Still Connect While Disconnecting From Social Media

Your weekly wellness boost from Odyssey.

No matter how good (or bad) you'd describe your health, one thing is for sure: a little boost is ALWAYS a good idea. Whether that's reading a new, motivating book, or listening to a song that speaks to your soul, there are plenty of resources to help your health thrive on any given day.

I don't know if you've heard, but there's a lot going on right now, particularly in relation to George Floyd's death, Black Lives Matter, and public protest of racial injustice in the United States. While we can all agree that this deserves conversations, change, and actionable good, social media arguments with Great Aunt Linda are not where social change begins and ends. Spending too much time scrolling through your phone has never been healthy, but now it's even more addicting — what does that one person from my hometown say about this? How can I further education within discussions? Am I posting enough?

Keep Reading... Show less

I don't know about you, but reading is at the top of my to-do list this summer... especially with all the social distancing I'll still be doing. If, like me, you're hoping to pick up a romantic page-turner (or a couple dozen), here are 23 romance novels by Black authors you'll absolutely LOVE reading.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

12 Ways To Help The #BlackLivesMatter Movement If You CAN'T Protest

We can all do better. Join the fight against racial injustice.

The current state of the world has created the perfect storm for change in America. But with change there is always risk. Although protests have sprung up all across America, COVID-19 is still a very real risk. Luckily, you can help bring about change from the comfort of your own home. And no, I don't mean just by posting a black square on social media.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

True Self-Care Is HARD, That Face Mask Isn't Actually Going To Solve Your Problems

There's a line between self-care and self-destruction.

Anyone who hasn't been living under a rock for the past few years has seen something somewhere about self-care whether it was on Facebook, Twitter, or their Instagram feed. Oftentimes it's pictures of celebrities or influencers sipping green smoothies or slathering on mud masks with #selfcare. It's posts like these that made me realize that "self-care" has become the ultimate buzz word, soaring in popularity but in the process, it's lost most of its original meaning. It's time to set the record straight and reclaim the term.

Although self-care has been around for quite some time, within the past few years it's been misconstrued and commodified as our capitalist society tends to do with things it thinks can be profited off. Self-care is now being peddled as something that can be bought and sold on the shelf at Target rather than something that takes real work to achieve. This fake self-care movement is not only enabling people to over-indulge themselves, but it has created a crutch for people to avoid the responsibility of taking true care of themselves. Instead of doing the work that needs to be done, many people fall into the trap of rewarding themselves for doing nothing at all — this can quickly become an unhealthy coping mechanism, especially with corporations cheering us on (to buy their next product). Long, hard day at work? Just grab your third iced coffee of the day! Fight with your SO? Buy that 50-dollar face mask, it'll make you feel better! This is how self-care becomes self-sabotage and self-destructive.

Keep Reading... Show less

Minorities are consistently under-represented in our day-to-day lives, notably in the world of fashion. It's likely you're looking for a way to support black artists. Whether that's the case or you're just a fashion-lover in general, these brands aren't just some of the best black-owned fashion brands — they're some of the most innovative brands of our time, period.

From luxury staples to fun accessories and loungewear, these brands aren't just stunning names you should definitely be following on Instagram, each honors the founder's roots in unique ways with the power of storytelling through artistic expression that manifests in pieces we can't wait to wear.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

10 Home Items You Need For Stress Relief, On The Days You 'Literally Cannot'

Fill your home with peaceful, calming coping mechanisms.

I'd like to think that 2020 is teaching us a lot. Or will teach us a lot. Or will be a story we tell at parties one day. Ultimately, this year has been — and is probably going to continue to be — a bit of a mess.

At the beginning of the year, Australia was on fire and we mourned the death of Kobe Bryant. Then, coronavirus (COVID-19) took our spring and shut us in our homes, inciting panic over public health and sparking political upheaval at every decision made by local and federal officials alike. Now, a week after George Floyd's death at the hands of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, a nationwide conversation is reignited with protests regarding racial injustice in the United States. There is an enormous amount of tension, hurt, and change that is upon the American people.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments