[This is Guam Governor Eddie Baza Calvo's weekly address]
I am headed to the United Nations where I will reiterate our intent as a people to vote on our political status – as well as the challenges that we face in that regard.
I have made no secret over the years that my personal preference on political status but even more than that … my desire is that we, the people of Guam, I taotao Guahan, … are raised out of our current status as an unincorporated territory … and brought into a status of our own choosing.
This was the cry of my great grandfather Tomas Anderson Calvo who, a century ago, asserted that we must not be afraid to defend our rights as a people to determine for ourselves what path we should take. His rally cry that we fight for our right to self-governance resounded over the decades and we continue to hear its echo in the voices of the young leaders of today. I am proud of that legacy and I hope that every young Chamorro, indeed every young Guamanian, understand that this rallying cry is not one that is borne out of hatred for any particular group, but out of love for democracy and our belief in ourselves as a people.
In my term as Governor, I have fought hard for funding for the Decolonization Commission's educational campaign. I followed that with a call for our leaders to come together to hold the plebiscite vote — this was delayed first by our desire to ensure that our community understood what the plebiscite is about. Now our larger challenge is in the courts where we are appealing for the opportunity for the native inhabitants of Guam to choose our course.
This week I make this appeal to a larger audience, one that I hope will help bring resolution to the fight for our rights as a people.
In the words of my great grandfather in his speech at the opening of the First Guam Congress in 1917 …
“It is high time that there be granted to the people, respectful, loyal and devoted to the great American nation, the same rights that have been granted to the different states, territories and possessions; and we censure no one although we be the last to be remembered and granted our rights. Our ideals are realized by the giving of that which by right should be granted, that is to say, the defining of the status of the Chamorro people.”
And he closed by posing the question, of whether we are to be members of the American people or their servitors. My fellow brothers and sisters, we cannot wait another one hundred years for this question to be answered.
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