Alejandro González Iñárritu Sticks Up for Immigrants During Awards Speech

credit: Jason Merritt / Getty

Acclaimed Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu took a moment to show solidarity with Mexican immigrants while accepting an award at the LACMA 2015 Art+Film Gala. González Iñárritu was honored for his work on films such as Birdman, Babel and Amores Perros. The 52-year-old joined an exclusive list of directors who were previously honored by LACMA, including Stanley Kubrick, Martin Scorcese and Quentin Tarantino. But González Iñarritu didn’t use his speech to pat himself on the back. He used it to defend immigrants. Here’s an excerpt:

We are the only creatures on planet Earth that want to see ourselves in the mirror. Because we know we are the same, but we are different, we need to share. We need to see ourselves projected in other members of our species to, in turn, understand ourselves. Cinema, is that mirror. It is a bridge between the others and us.

Unfortunately, there are currently people proposing we build walls, instead of bridges. I must confess that I debated with myself, if I should bring up this uncomfortable subject tonight. But in light of the constant and relentless xenophobic comments that have been expressed recently against my Mexican fellows, it is inevitable.

Iñárritu also scolded members of the media that are giving Donald Trump and his anti-immigrant message a platform:

These sentiments have been widely spread by the media without shame, embraced and cheered by leaders and communities around the US. The foundation of all this is so outrageous that it can easily be minimized as an SNL sketch, a mere entertainment, a joke.

But the words that have been expressed are not a joke. Words have real power; and similar words in the past have both created and triggered enormous suffering for millions of humans beings, especially throughout the last century.

Tell ’em, Mister González Iñárritu. Tell ’em!

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Read the full text of Iñárritu’s speech here.

READ: These González Iñárritu GIFs Will Make You Feel High

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