“I have one thing to tell you. Everything I say after this one thing is an elaboration on that one thing. Just one thing: the time is now,” Keith Ellison, the Democratic Congressman from Minnesota’s 5th district, told a diverse audience at Georgetown Law School’s Gewirz Student Center on Tuesday night. Ellison’s discussion about bringing change to American politics, titled “Our Time has Come,” was organized by several law center groups.
Ellison, the first and only Islamic Congressman to date, is well known for his controversial decision to take the oath of office on the Quran rather than the Bible in January 2007.
Throughout his speech, the Congressman said that Americans must learn to overcome the fear, selfishness and division that he believes have prevented solidarity among Americans and between America and the world at large.
Ellison discussed several political issues, including immigration, universal healthcare, the war in Iraq, the budget deficit, criminal justice systems and the environment.
“There’s enough for the native-born Americans and the new Americans,” Ellison said about immigration. “Company has come over, we didn’t expect them to come, we’re going to be putting some more water in the gumbo, we’re going to put more water in the stew, and I don’t know how you make more hummus, but … we’re going to do that too.”
Ellison called the audience of law students the most important people in D.C., and encouraged them to remedy the current state of American politics by promoting social justice through pro bono work and promoting interfaith dialogue.
“I really appreciated how he was trying to spur us on to action, asking everybody to step up and make a difference,” Kerry Alcé, a first year law student, said. “Promoting social justice, rather than his personal policies, to me is refreshing.”