Thank You, Gael

  • Posted on: 13 September 2011
  • By: Margaux
Gael García Bernal

Tonight I had the honor of attending the WOLA Human Rights Award Ceremony, "Migration and Development: Stories that make a Difference." This is the first of a series of posts I'll write about my experience there.

As far as I know, I was the only one in tears, but others wanted to be. There was something so sincere, so pure, and so passionate about Gael as he accepted the award. He spoke from his heart, giving voice to things that many of us believe but are afraid to say.

Gael García Bernal was being honored for his work on the documentary series "Los Invisibles", where he helped to tell the stories of migrants traveling from Central America through México to the United States. I haven't seen "Los Invisibles" yet, but you can be sure I'll report back when I do.

My own experience with Gael is through his role as Ernesto "Che" Guevara in The Motorcycle Diaries. In the movie Che is transformed by voyaging through Latin America with open eyes. Gael played the part so genuinely that at times I forgot he was acting.  And after talking with him tonight, I understand that in many ways, he was not. Through playing that role and filming that movie, he was changed too.

As he accepted the award tonight, he said that the real borders aren't where we think they are. They're in our fears, and our darkest thoughts, representing our insecurities. He went on to say that we are all in this world together, and we are all meant to be here. We all have a right to be here. Walls aren't really walls, they're just resistance. They'll come down one day.

Through telling -- and hearing -- stories, that is how we will be changed. That is how we'll learn to see that we are more the same than we are different. And that is how we will change the world.

Thank you, Gael, for your courage. Thank you for not being afraid to say what you believe and what you know is right.


Update 9/23/2011: check out the video of Gael's acceptance speech, and introduction by WOLA co-founder Joe Eldridge.

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