Jennifer Lopez Broke Into Spanish During Her Inauguration Performance, and We Are Here for It

The Pledge of Allegiance has never sounded so good.

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There’s a lot to say about the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, but I just want to pause for a second to soak up one of the many moments that signaled to many of us that change is coming to the White House: Jennifer Lopez speaking Spanish during her performance of “This Land Is Your Land” and “America the Beautiful.” 

“¡Una nación, bajo Dios, indivisible, con libertad y justicia para todos!” JLo called out toward the end of her performance, reciting the last lines of the Pledge of Allegiance in Spanish before turning back to her big finish.

Seeing a Puerto Rican woman say those words at a presidential inauguration felt especially significant after the constant attacks on Latinx and immigrant communities by Trump’s White House. For the last four years, the man in the highest office of the land, along with his white supremacist and racist underlings, have vilified Latinos. It’s not hard to draw a direct line from their language to the kind of violence we saw in El Paso in 2019, when 22 people were killed in a mass shooting at a Walmart. There was, after all, very little in the obscene manifesto from the racist killer that didn’t appear regularly in public discourse, including in speeches by Trump.  

So perhaps it was no surprise that many folks on Twitter deeply felt the significance of hearing Spanish spoken at the inauguration, especially since it came shortly after we watched the first Latina Supreme Court Justice, Sonia Sotomayor, swear in Kamala Harris as the first woman, the first Black woman, and the first South Asian to become vice president. 

It might not technically have been the first time Spanish was spoken at an inauguration—Dr. Luis Leon addressed then-President Obama and then-Vice President Biden in his 2013 inaugural benediction: “Señor Presidente y Vice Presidente, que Dios os bendiga todos sus dias”—but today, as Trump leaves the White House and his supporters watch a woman shout in Spanish in the middle of the presidential transition, I’m going to rejoice in this moment. Because this land is all was made for all of us. 

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Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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