New York Times obituary picture of Aunt Zeituni, original size
President Obama`s Aunt Zeituni has tragically died before she could become an American citizen. In 2010, she was granted asylum in the United States so she wouldn`t have to return to Kenya and be persecuted for being related to the most powerful man in the world.
How can we best commemorate this supreme epitomization of what 21st Century immigration is all about?
A commenter suggests the President and Congress should be petitioned to grant her posthumous honorary citizenship. Good idea. America has extended honorary citizenship seven times, five posthumously. The honorees have been:
Sir Winston Churchill (1874–1965), British Prime Minister, enacted on April 9, 1963
Raoul Wallenberg (1912–1947), Swedish diplomat who rescued Jews from the Holocaust, enacted on October 5, 1981, posthumously although he was thought to be possibly still alive at the time.
William Penn (1644–1718), English real estate entrepreneur, and founder and “absolute proprietor” of the Province of Pennsylvania, the English North American colony and the future Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, enacted on October 19, 1984, posthumously
Hannah Callowhill Penn (1671–1726), second wife of William Penn, administrator of the Province of Pennsylvania, enacted on October 19, 1984, posthumously
Mother Teresa (1910–1997), Catholic nun of Albanian ethnicity and Indian citizenship, who founded the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, India, enacted on October 1, 1996
Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de La Fayette (1757–1834), the Marquis de La Fayette or General Lafayette … a Frenchman who was an officer in the American Revolutionary War, enacted August 6, 2002, posthumously
Casimir Pulaski (1745–1779), Polish military officer who fought on the side of the American colonists against the British in the American Revolutionary War; member of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth nobility, politician who has been called “The Father of the American Cavalry,” enacted on November 6, 2009, posthumously
Zeituni Onyango (1953–2014), undocumented nonworker, public housing recipient, refugee from popularity of her nephew in her own country, enacted on April 9, 2014 posthumously
But what about a monument? Perhaps she should be buried at the foot of the Statue of Liberty right next to the Emma Lazarus poem. Liberty means Freedom and Aunt Zeituni loved her free public housing, so if that doesn`t make her a Liberty Lover, I don`t know what would.
But in the spirit of the healthy-sized portrait (see above) published along with her obituary in the New York Times, we should think big. Instead of burying her beneath the Statue of Liberty, we should build a full-sized replica of Aunt Zeituni as the Statue of Liberty. Why should the Statue of Liberty be restricted to a white?
And why should the East Coast have the only Statue of Liberty? I know, let`s put Aunt Zeituni`s Statue of Liberty on the beach in Malibu: