Media mogul Oprah Winfrey delivered a keynote speech at a gala in New York City, in celebration of the new Statue of Liberty Museum this week. Just before touring the museum, Oprah spoke to the press about the significance of the Statue of Liberty and where she wants the country to be.
Oprah said, “It’s important that we establish that we are a country that has open arms and not closed borders for people. It’s important because we let people know why America is what it is. It’s about an ideal, and that ideal is freedom for everybody.”
According to the Associated Press, Oprah was a keynote speaker at the gala along with comedian Seth Meyers and kicked off her speech with a history lesson for the audience. She spoke about the history of the Statue of Liberty and how between the 1880s and the 1990s, 23.5 million immigrants came to the U.S. from countries such as England, Italy, Poland, Jamaica, Germany, Hungary, and Scandinavia.
She said, “[They] came from famine in search of food, from poverty in search of opportunity. They came from violence in search of peace. They came from oppression in search of freedom. They were young; they were old, they were Jewish, they were Catholic, they were educated, they were not. But for all their differences, each of them came seeking one thing: the American dream.”
However, Oprah also pointed out that America hasn’t always done a great job of providing “freedom” to all, especially women, Asian- Americans, and Black people. “Make no mistake, Lady Liberty’s spirit of inclusion did not extend to people of color. We are and have always been a flawed society and what I know for sure is this: that we have made great strides and we have suffered tremendous defeat, but the wheel is still in spin as our country continues to evolve. And the dream, let me tell you, has not died. Because the dream is up to us.”
She spoke about Harriet Tubman, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, and Dr. Edith Eva Eger, a 92-year-old Holocaust survivor, who all fought for freedom and put their lives in danger to do so.
“We live in divisive times, but I think it’s only fitting that at this critical moment, we remember that the one idea that sustains the soul of America above all others is freedom. Freedom is being able to wake up in the morning and decide for yourself what to do with the day,” Oprah said.
Do you agree with Oprah’s statements? Is she still “canceled” or does she get a pass this time?