Earlier this month, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa invited Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes to his home in Hancock Park. Fuentes, the author of many novels, including "The Death of Artemio Cruz" (1962), "A Change of Skin" (1967), "The Old Gringo" (1985) and "The Eagle's Throne" (2006), was given the keys to the city. What follows is an excerpt from the speech Fuentes gave.
"Some people might think you have taken a major risk in offering the keys to the city of Los Angeles to a Mexican citizen.
Not to worry. I will use these marvelous keys judiciously. But I will use them, fear not. I will open the gates to this magnificent metropolis — Nuestra Senora de los Angeles de la Porciuncula — with confidence and generosity.
With generosity because Los Angeles means so many things. This is a city of global significance. A city sustained by Native and Afro and Anglo Americans. The meeting point of the Orient and the Americas, North and South. A city that is re-created daily by the energy of its multicultural environment.
With confidence because Los Angeles proves that California is not the slide area but the solid area of solidarity among all its cultural and racial constituencies. The city by the sea where all the peoples of the world arrive in order to recognize and share each other's values.
The City of the Angels is also the city of its citizens: confident, generous, fraternal in its conviction that we can and must all live together. Latinos and Asians, Anglo and Afro Americans, linked by the values of work and mutual respect."
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