Chaos in The City Upon a Hill

By Abisola Adeyemi


As you can tell by my name, I’m foreign. I mean I was born in Maryland, but I was born of Immigrant parents. My parents came here for college, and growing up they will tell us of how they wanted to give us a better life. I love being Nigerian, but I also really love being American. I do feel blessed being here.

It wasn’t by accident that we were learning about the “City Upon a Hill” concept in my nonprofit PR class while my Facebook feed was in complete uproar about the recent immigration ban. I believe in meaningful coincidences. My instructor couldn’t have pre-planned a better time to cover this topic in class.

I have never heard of “The City Upon a Hill” concept until this time, and instantly I couldn’t help but to think of how ironic things were in our country at the moment.

This concept was founded by American Colonial Governor John Winthrop. He was the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, also part of the Puritans which founded New England. Winthrop stated their purpose saying “We shall be as a city upon a hill, the eyes of all people are upon us.” He got this reference from The Holy Bible; Matthew 5:14 saying “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.” Winthrop believed they had a special mission for those in need.

Since then, this concept has been popularly use by politicians such as Ronald Reagan, Barrack Obama and so on.

This was Reagans Farewell Speech back in 1989:

“The past few days when I’ve been at that window upstairs, I’ve thought a bit of the shining “city upon a hill.” The phrase comes from John Winthrop, who wrote it to describe the America he imagined. What he imagined was important, because he was an early Pilgrim – an early “Freedom Man.” He journeyed here on what today we’d call a little wooden boat, and, like the other pilgrims, he was looking for a home that would be free.

I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind, it was a tall proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind swept, God blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace – a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity, and if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors, and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here.”

This is information is enough for us all to understand what America stands for. The founders before us believed we had a mission to cater for the ones in need. Refugees are in need. What makes America is the diversity of us that comes from different backgrounds. We are to accept those with heart that look to us, because we are The City Upon the Hill.

I do understand if it was done for protection, but majority of the people were people in need. Its Un American for us to turn away those in need.

During the weekend of the ban there were many live videos coming to surface of protestors, Muslims praying in airports and such.

This particular bible verse was passed around my Facebook feed; in fact, I have never seen this verse till the chaos occurred:

Leviticus 19:33-34 and 24:22 – When the alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien.  The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt:  I am the Lord your God.”

It’s very relevant and a reminder that this is a Christian nation founded upon God. We’re to embrace others, because truth be told a lot of here are immigrants.

I do admit that I am proud of the Americans that went out to protest for those in need. Although we are facing difficult changes, we seem to still have our spirit.


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UNT Eagle Strategies

Class members of the social media class in the Mayborn School of Journalism