Cinco de Mayo Celebration
May 5, 2008
Lt. Governor Anthony Brown, thank you very, very much. These last fifteen months have had their difficult moments, but I never doubted that this guy always had my back and he has been a tremendous leader – and really, an inspiration to our Administration.
Anthony has been a tremendous part of what successes we have had in this Administration, always encouraging us on, always telling us that night is darkest before the dawn and you have to keep going. So Anthony, thank you for your leadership in this Administration.
Let me say to all of my fellow Marylanders, Bienvenido! Welcome to your Government House.
Happy Cinco de Mayo!
I want to thank Delegate Gutierrez and Delegate Peña- Melnyk, who is here with us from the gorgeous Prince George’s County (Applause).
Tom Perez passes on to you his regrets that he could not be here.
Adam Ortiz, Mr. Mayor, thank you for being here tonight for Cinco de Mayo (Applause).
We also have with us Judge Dolores Briones (Applause).
I also want to offer a special word of thanks and recognition for Maria Welch and Ruby Stemmle, who are Chair and Executive Director, respectively, of our Commission on Hispanic Affairs (Applause).
Just as in our household, we are surrounding ourselves with strong women at the top (Laughter).
That’s the way it should be (Laughter).
We are also joined, ladies and gentleman, by a gentleman who has for the third time, brought home the new Championship this year by the Baltimore Blast, Mario Margiocco (Applause), soon to be on the Governor’s Commission for Health and Fitness coming your way (Laughter).
I would also like to say a word of thanks to all of you that are serving on various boards and divisions.
I thank you for the time that you have given to these because sometimes, when you think to yourself, I’m going to one more meeting and my spouse, whether it is your husband or your wife, are wondering why you are going to one more meeting, it is not only important for the commission you are on, but for this growing part of Maryland’s beautifully diverse population that is important for the whole.
In other words, when our community feels plugged in and have somebody that they can go to on various boards and commissions – that creates that sort of spirit of oneness that Lt. Governor Brown and I talked about and what we want for the State of Maryland. So, when you are at that commission meeting on Health and Fitness, be mindful that all of these other folks that have served on all of these boards and commissions are doing a terrific job.
Octavio Paz wrote that “today we all speak, if not the same tongue, the same universal language.”
He also said that “what sets the world in motion is the interplay of differences.”
That’s what we have here in our One Maryland.
Overlooking this gathering tonight is, from what I am told, the best portrait ever done of General Washington, which was done actually during the campaign. I don’t know how he had time to fight the British and sit down to do a portrait (Laughter).
That portrait has been here on many important and special nights. It’s here tonight; it was here when our Muslim brothers and sisters were in this house for the very first time breaking fast here in the State of Maryland as a community and a Government House.
It is from that diversity that we really derive our powers – especially in conflict, where we see two really ugly situations coming together at the same time as they have before in our history. When you have the national downturn and the rise of nativism at the same time in our country, it can become very hard to keep sight of the fact that this is our motto, “E Pluribus Unum,” or, “from many, one.”
It is difficult to keep that hopeful spirit alive. That this is the place -- because of its freedom, because of its welcoming; because of its respect for the dignity of every individual, because of the sense we share for our own responsibility to advance the common good -- we are in a place where differences really can come together; where we can work through these things, and in the process, we are able to do work that not only honors our grandparent’s grandparents, but it actually makes our children’s children’s world a far better place.
I think that’s the reason why you do what you do every day and I think that is the reason why many Americans do what they do every day.
I know that’s the reason why Lt. Governor Brown and I wake up every day, doing the best we can in acknowledging that there is a flow and there are seasons where seeds of change can be planted. There are times for harvesting; there are times for winter. And frankly, over this last session, we had to do a lot of the duck and cover to keep bad things from happening.
In October, I signed an Executive Order which expanded the Governor’s Commission on Hispanic Affairs. We elevated it to an executive level by placing it in the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives, while increasing the number of commissioners and extending its focus to include economic, workforce, business and community development initiatives.
I’m also very glad that we have been able to elevate Izzy Patoka, who many of you work with in the City of Baltimore. Izzy now not only heads the Office of Community Initiatives, but he also heads our Intergovernmental Affairs office, which means he is also dealing with local governments. I know I met some people in Frederick that were having their local government challenges, so Izzy is that intersection where we are doing everything to unleash some power not only to new Americans in our State, but also make sure that we are able to integrate them with the efforts that we have going on in our local governments.
We have brought leaders from business, government, and the community to the table to draw upon the greatest thoughts and talents. Our commissioners have proven that they are very committed to taking a national role, sitting on steering committees of the U.S. Hispanic Leadership Institute and the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. We want to prioritize their work because of their contribution to our State and actually, it’s only going to grow. For those of us from the Washington area, we have seen the expediential growth, and those of us from Baltimore, who are only seeing it more recently, are seeing Baltimore rebuild and remake herself.
We have several members of our committee who are contributing to our State government. One I met with at the breakfast table just this week, Rosa Garcia, who serves on our State Board of Education. I met Mr. Knight the other day and you would be so proud of what your State is doing for our returning veterans. So I want to thank Mr. Knight, who serves on our Veterans Commission; as well as Abraham Fernando Carpio, who serves on our State Real Estate Commission; and Jose Sanchez, who serves on our State Planning Council.
I also want to thank the band, Grupo Latino, who have done a terrific job filling this place with music. One great part of the Mexican culture is the holiday we celebrate today and I know that at the core of every people in the world can celebrate. When they realize what they have in one another, they are able to come together and overcome great adversity to make a better world for their children.
And that is it really, whether it is the Fourth of July, or Cinco de Mayo, it is a universal, heartfelt human story. When we are able to summon together our highest angels to serve the politics of prosperity, the politics that make this place a better world for our children and theirs.
I want to thank you all for what you have been doing for many, many years, and what together we are going to do in the coming years. We have been up here planting a lot of seeds of change and our best days as a country, not withstanding the dark clouds that come over us, are still ahead of us. We just have to remind one another of the politics of prosperity -- what it requires, what it takes and how important that is.
So thanks very, very much.