To celebrate his imminent citizenship, a Guatemalan immigrant is walking from New York to Los Angeles as we speak.

Although we would recommend avoiding Arizona, what with all its anti-immigrant fervor and summer heat, it turns out that this here walking man, Constantino Diaz-Duran, is a fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University. He's on a fact-finding mission.

Here's what Diaz-Duran says (via LAObserved) about walking the walk:

I want to see the spacious skies, the amber waves of grain and the purple mountain majesties. But even more importantly, I want to meet Americans of as many different backgrounds, ages and lifestyles as I can. I want to ask them what it means to them to call themselves “American.”

… I want to find out what a 10th-generation New Englander has in common with a first-generation Latino in California, and what a descendant of African slaves shares with a granddaughter of Vietnamese refugees. Benjamin Franklin once said that his country is “where liberty dwells,” and I suspect that in his timeless wisdom lies part of the answer as to the connective tissue binding us together.

Diaz-Duran's route.

Diaz-Duran's route.

Diaz-Duran left New York yesterday, on the 4th of July, and quickly celebrated with a tweet: “One state down, 17 to go.”

How should we welcome him to L.A? May we suggest: with an authentic Guatemalan meal, a Chinese foot massage, a fresh pair of New Balance shoes and ride down Hollywood Boulevard in a cheesy white limo. (That's America, L.A.-style).

Follow him on Twitter or check in on his diary here.


LA Weekly