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Board of Selectmen, John Rizza: September 29, 2023

To the Editor:

My Irish and Italian grandparents immigrated to this country seeking a better life for their wives and children. They had been told of the great promise of jobs and opportunities in America. They were young, foolish and intent on giving their wives and children a new life in the land of opportunity and promise.These men traveled ahead to find work and housing and when they had the funds they sent for their families. Undeterred they set sail for America.

When Nunzio (that would be my Italian grandfather) arrived at Ellis Island he had spent twenty-three days in the hull of the ship, the staterooms were all full. He had seven dollars in his wallet, but that never deterred him from the land of promise and opportunity waiting for him in America. I can't imagine what it felt like for this young farmer when he first viewed Lady Liberty, an innocent young man whose hopes and dreams reverberated for generations to come. Inscribed at the base of the statue are the words "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore."

I can hear the readers of this letter asking "what the hell does this have to do with running for the Board of Selectman for Marlborough?" we're getting to that. My world was shaped on the backs of these men and the sacrifices that they endured.

These young immigrants faced difficult challenges when they reached the shores of America, but they never gave up. Signs on shop windows read “Irish not apply”, the countless denials for work if you couldn’t read or write in English. Undeterred they labored for long hours and little pay. Always in the back of their minds to make a better life for their children in this land of promise.

Somewhere along the line we have forgotten the words of Lady Liberty. My intent is clearly not to return to the good old days, but we’ve seemed to have lost our focus on the tenets this country was founded on, I’ll forgo quoting the Bill of Rights.

As your Selectman, I intend to focus on building consensus and never ignoring the hard work and sacrifice that our immigrant grandparents made to instill that all citizens have the right “to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Sincerely, John Rizza

Candidate for Marlborough Board of Selectmen

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