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I kind of wished I was back at Harvard yesterday, as Colombian singer and Grammy Award winner Shakira was at my alma mater in Cambridge yesterday to accept an award for her artistic and humanitarian contributions.

Shakira was named the Harvard Foundation Artist of the Year, presented to her by Harvard Foundation Director Allen Counter. Copyright @Associated Press

During her remarks, Shakira took the time to focus on the country’s recent wave of anti-immigrant legislation, especially Arizona’s proposed new controversial law, which some are calling “SB1070 on steroids,” that if passed by the state legislature would severely curtail services to illegal immigrants in this country.

Shakira takes questions from students at Harvard University yesterday. Copyright © The Associated Press

As she told the Associated Press after the awards ceremony:

Justice will come. I’m sure. Wherever there is … a kid, who could be the son or the daughter of a Latino immigrant, who cannot attend a school in the United States of America, that kid should be a concern to all of us and our responsibility.

I believe we should never think less of the Latino community because it’s a productive force in this country.

The singer also shared her thoughts about education and its importance, while at the same time, made the typical “Hey, mom I’m at Harvard” joke:

“As I entered the premises today, I had to call my mom and say, ‘Hey mom. Guess what? I got into Harvard’,” said Shakira, who took a history class in 2008 at UCLA.

“Not everyone can study at Harvard University,” she said. “But everyone, wherever they live, whatever their background, deserves a chance to make the most of his or her potential” through education.She said that applied to poor children in Bangladesh or immigrants in the United States. “And as a child of the developing world, it is my duty to use this voice in every way I can to promote the message about the power of education to change lives,” she said.

So for that, Shakira, I say: GRACIAS. Thank you for speaking out for the voiceless.

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