Proud to live in Pitkin County

After sitting through the county commissioners meeting Tuesday, I left proud and happy that I live in a town where our elected officials share a vision of kindness and compassion to all people. I arrived in Aspen in 1985 as an undocumented immigrant, but within a couple of years had acquired the necessary paperwork to become a legal alien, and I am now in fact a U.S. citizen, and when I was sworn in, I did not take the Oath of Allegiance lightly.

I have worked in the service industry in the valley ever since and I have had the pleasure of working alongside the Latino community for over 30 years. Thank god for the migrant workers harvesting grapes in the Napa Valley in California, so that we can drink our Jordan Cabernet at the Food & Wine Classic every summer, and the hardworking undocumented workers picking my raspberries in California so I can eat some with my pancakes every day.

Let’s be honest with ourselves: It is an accident of geography where we are born, whether it be Liverpool, England; Aspen; Oaxaca, Mexico; or Syria. We are a nation built on the “strength of immigrants,” “bring us your poor, bring us your hungry,” and it ain’t easy to get legal papers if you come from a Central American country, and a lot harder if your skin isn’t lily white.

I came here from a country where if you stood up and spoke your mind about Nelson Mandella being incarcerated for 28 years, you stood the very real risk of being arrested, too.

I chose to live in the United States because it purported to be the land of liberty and freedom.

Thank you, Sheriff Joe DiSalvo, Jon Peacock, George, Patti Clapper and Rachel for helping restore my faith in a sometimes wavering society. Vote for powder!

Martin Suthren

Aspen and Todos Santos, Baja California