Washington, Aug 26 (PTI) Racial unrest is a harsh reality in the US and 'we are not proud of parts of our history,' US First Lady Melania Trump has acknowledged, as she recalled her own immigrant story in an appeal for social harmony in the country.
The First Lady, in her address to the Republican National Convention on Tuesday from the Rose Garden of the White House, made a passionate plea to Americans to re-elect her husband, President Donald Trump.
“Like all of you, I have reflected on the racial unrest in our country. It is a harsh reality that we are not proud of parts of our history. I encourage people to focus on our future while still learning from our past,” Melania, 50, said.
This was her first major reference to the socio-political unrest in the country following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May.
Floyd, 46, died after being arrested by police outside a shop in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Footage of the arrest shows a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeling on Floyd's neck while he was pinned to the floor.
Chauvin, 44, has since been charged with murder. Floyd's death had sparked protests around the world against racial injustice and police brutality.
Recalling her immigrant story, Slovenia-born Melania said that becoming an American citizen in 2006 was one of the proudest moments of her life. “I arrived in the United States when I was 26 years old. Living and working in the land of opportunity was a dream come true, but I wanted more. I wanted to be a citizen. After ten years of paperwork and patience I studied for the test in 2006 and became an American citizen,” Melania said.
“It is still one of the proudest moments in my life because, with hard work and determination, I was able to achieve my own American dream. As an immigrant and a very independent woman, I understand what a privilege it is to live here and to enjoy the freedoms and opportunities that we have,” she said.
Melania, 50, is only the second First Lady, after Louisa Adams, born outside the United States. She is the first First Lady to be a naturalised citizen and the first whose native language is not English.
After moving to the US from Slovenia in 1996, to further her modelling career, she stayed briefly on visitor’s visa then on H-1B visa. She became a permanent resident in 2001 and became a US citizen in 2006. She married Trump in 2005.
“Growing up as a young child in Slovenia, which was under communist rule at the time, I always heard about an amazing place called America, a land that stood for freedom and opportunity. As I grew older, it became my goal to move to the United States and follow my dream of working in the fashion industry,” the First Lady said.
“My parents worked very hard to ensure our family could not only live and prosper in America but also contribute to a nation that allows for people to arrive with a dream and make it a reality,” she said.
Melania she has been fortunate to see the American dream come true over and over again.
“We must remember that today, we are all one community comprised of many races, religions, and ethnicities. Our diverse and storied history is what makes our country strong, and yet, we still have it so much to learn from one another,” she said.
“With that in mind, I'd like to call on the citizens of this country to take a moment, pause, and look at things from all perspectives,” she said and urged people to come together in a civil manner so that they can work and live up to the standard American ideals.
“Instead of tearing things--tearing things down, let's reflect on our mistakes, be proud of our evolution, and look to our way forward,' she said.
In her primetime address, she said that the administration of her husband has worked on issues around race and religion in the country.
“He's the first president to address a special session of the United Nations General Assembly to call upon countries across the world to end religious persecution and honour the right of every person to worship as they choose. He has made substantial investments in our historically black colleges and universities,” she said.
Asserting that Trump is the best for the country, Melania said that the United States needs her husband's leadership now more than ever.
“I believe that we need my husband's leadership now more than ever in order to bring us back once again to the greatest economy and the strongest country ever known,” Melania said.
Making a strong case of her husband before her countrymen, the First Lady said that the Trump family is grateful for electing Trump as the president of the country four years ago.
“I know I speak for my husband and the entire family when I say we have not forgotten the incredible people who were willing to take a chance on the businessman who had never worked in politics We were humbled by the incredible support then, and we are still grateful today,” she said.
In an apparent reference to the Democratic National Convention last week that nominated former vice president Joe Biden as its presidential candidate against Trump in the November elections, the First Lady alleged that their agenda seems to divide the country.
“I don't want to use this precious time attacking the other side because as we saw it last week, that kind of talk only serves to divide the country further,” she said.
“Total honesty is what we as citizens deserve from our president. Whether you like it or not, we always know what he's thinking,” she said. PTI LKJ NSA