In case you missed it, this past Thursday night San Francisco Giant pitchers Barry Zito and Sergio Romo appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. After the introductions and cheers, Leno brought up the fact that Romo got attention when he wore an "I Just Look Illegal" shirt at the Giants' victory parade.
At the beginning of the interview (video below), images of Romo's appearance at the parade are shown and aRomo says, "There's the whacky one." Then Leno says the following: "I love the uh, I just look illegal, I love that," as the audience cheers. Right after that, Jamie Lee Curtis tells Romo how "awesome" a moment that was as Romo smiled, says "definitely," and agrees.
Here is the first part when Leno gives Romo props for wearing the shirt at the parade:
The rest of the interview is here:
In the meantime, reaction to Romo's act continues to be overwhelmingly positive. Although one report mentions one vocal critic, the now-famous shirt was seen by most as Romo being sarcastic and using a global stage to raise the issue of discrimination and profiling against Latinos. We just don't agree with those critics who think Romo is just being a Mexican jester. It is clear the overall community, from people such as Rudy Acuña to groups such as the Drop the "I Word" campaign saw the power of what Romo did this past week. An opinion piece from Presente.org's Ana Pérez summed it up best when she wrote:
Wearing a T-shirt with the slogan "I just look illegal," he captured the attention of millions of people with a sentiment that most Latinos in this country have held for what seems like an eternity: the feeling that we are just not wanted in this country. While the word "illegal" has been wrongfully used to hurt and target undocumented immigrants, eroding one group's humanity hurts us all. But by taking on this word, Romo sent us a message of pride – pride of place, San Francisco, and pride of person, Latino.
Seeing Romo bouncing in Wednesday's celebration of the Giants' world championship while also wearing an unambiguous statement of Latino pride sent a significant message to Latinos nationwide: We're here, we matter – all of us.
Is it the spark that will bring more light to the issue? We think so.