LOS ANGELES - “I can tell you, the kinds of things I’ve accomplished were all because of America.”
With discussions surrounding race at the forefront of the American psyche, former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger opened up to FOX 11’s Elex Michaelson about his own experience immigrating to The US, and his efforts to ensure equal opportunity for all.
This, as the USC Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy has announced plans for a virtual summit on race relations in America. This year, the Institute, which prides itself for advancing “post-partisanship,” has also worked to address gerrymandering and homelessness, among other pressing issues.
Schwarzenegger said he hopes the summit will help turn his vision of racial equality into a reality.
“I have seen first hand how I have been treated in American as an immigrant,” Schwarzenegger said, “how I was received with open arms, how I have gotten all these opportunities, there were doors of opportunity opening up left and right for me so that I could become a superstar in the bodybuilding world, and then a superstar in show business, and then also become Governor of the state of California, have a wonderful family, make millions of dollars.”
But before he could find that success, Schwarzenegger recalled the unrest and turmoil he was met with when he moved to The United States in 1968, most notably the protests over the Vietnam War and the riots outside of the Democratic Convention in Chicago.
Some 52 years later, as the streets of America’s largest cities enter the third month of protesting and rioting over injustice and inequality following the killing of George Floyd, Schwarzenegger worries that elected officials are still not listening to the concerns of their constituents.
“[In 1968], I think it was a lack of listening by the politicians, that they didn’t hear the people,” Schwarzenegger said. “And I think it’s important today that we don’t make the same mistakes again, and continue on with the riots, and with the burning, and with the looting, and the protests… let’s listen, and say ‘we’ve got to make changes, we are not treating everyone fairly.’ And there’s a way of doing that.”
While change won’t take place overnight, Schwarzenegger expressed optimism that, if the willingness to do so is there, Republicans and Democrats could sit down together to craft a plan to bring about actual equality in America.
For Schwarzenegger, that means equal opportunity for all Americans, not just in the fields of sports and entertainment, but also in regards to education, job placement, the ability to secure a loan, and beyond.
“Every American should have the same opportunities,” Schwarzenegger said. “It doesn’t matter if you are an immigrant, if you’re White, or Black, or Asian, or if you’re a man or woman, everyone should have the same opportunities, and that’s what I’m trying to fight for.”
In a wide-ranging interview on The Issue Is, Schwarzenegger also discussed California’s response to coronavirus, his relationship with Congresswoman, and potential VP pick, Karen Bass (D-CA), his time in quarantine, and the impending arrival of his first grandchild.
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