Constitution Day speaker opens minds at Saville

Shannon Kuhfuss

On Sept. 17 the World Cultures program and the history and political science Departments co-sponsored “Constitution of the ‘Divided’ States,” a speech given by Ezekiel E. Cortez to the student body at Saville Theatre.

“I will not tell you historic facts. I don’t want to talk like a professor because I’m not. I don’t want to talk down to you like a lawyer,” said Cortez.

Cortez is a board certified specialist in Criminal Law, a top five percent Career Criminal Defense Lawyer, and a City College Alumnus. According to Cortez, however, his biggest achievement thus far was getting his GED.

Cortez attended San Diego High School for one year before being expelled due to his lack of respect for authority.

He then worked at the National Steel and Shipbuilding Company before being thrown in jail after standing up to a superior for an African-American co-worker’s and his own rights. It was then Cortez decided to get his GED and become a criminal defense lawyer.

Cortez opened the floor to the opinions and views of the audience members, which included a mix of students, staff members and close friends.

“I want to keep the atmosphere open-minded… I want to be a midwife for thoughts and expression,” said Cortez.

Cortez proceeded to explain that the country is deeply divided because, perhaps, we have forgotten who we are.

“The Constitution of the United States is a political document made by white men from Europe who were driven here by greed,” said to Cortez.

Why is a criminal defense lawyer saying such things about our country’s founding document?

Cortez wants to give knowledge of the front lines from a law enforcement officer with 30 years of experience.

The debate about whether or not the Constitution is a living document or not has been questioned for years.

According to Cortez, “It depends on what century you live in”.

Cortez also went into detail on the Second, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments.

He raised the question to the audience,”Does the Second Amendment give you the right to kill somebody?”.

The audience seemed to jump at once. Cortez continued to explain that indirectly the Second Amendment could be interpretted as such.

Cortez also added, “…the Second Amendment was intended to give guns to a certain type of person… the founding brothers contained no women, no blacks, no Asians, etc.”.

Throughout Cortez’s speech, he stated his views and opinions on issues regarding the Constitution but mostly focused on what the audience had to say.

Alternative views to his own were not only welcomed but encouraged.

When the hot topic of abortion was brought up, the room expectedly began humming with opinions and viewpoints.

Cortez listened to each audience member who was eager to share their thoughts and replied, “I don’t know whether abortion is right or wrong. Our technological advancement is phenomenal, but when does life begin?”

Instead of dictating ideas, views and facts, Cortez provided an open discussion in order to hear the diverse voices and ideas of today’s generation.