Sacramento rolled out the red carpet for actors Harrison Ford and George Takei, former California first lady Maria Shriver and other political and cultural icons at the annual California Hall of Fame induction ceremony Wednesday evening.
In his opening remarks at the California Museum, near the state Capitol, Gov. Jerry Brown called the event an “extraordinary” opportunity to honor people and reflect on the state’s past in the time of Twitter.
“Tweets are known fundamentally by the fact that there can only be 140 characters,” Brown said. “But in life and poetry and art, 140 characters is not enough. So it is important that we go beyond that and go beyond the news and momentary excitement and alarm of whatever it is that gets our attention or manipulates our attention.”
In addition to Ford, Takei and Shriver, the 2016 inductees included author Isabel Allende, former U.S. Secretary of Defense William J. Perry and Tower Records founder Russ Solomon. San Diego Padre Tony Gwynn and artist Corita Kent were both honored posthumously.
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While introducing Perry, Brown noted that, like many of the inductees, he is not a native of the Golden State.
“But that doesn’t matter because most non-natives have made this place work, and we continue to believe that, so we keep welcoming people to California,” Brown said.
The topic of immigration came up several times throughout the evening.
Allende, a Chilean-American writer, joked that she could be deported tomorrow, a reference to President-elect Donald Trump’s statements on the campaign trail about deporting Latino immigrants.
“I have been the daughter of diplomats, always a foreigner,” Allende said. “Then I became a political refugee for years. I don’t have a place really. Now with this ceremony, I realize that…I do have a home.”
Takei, an activist and outspoken Trump critic, told the crowd that his mother was born in Sacramento. His grandparents moved from Japan and worked on farms in the Florin area of Sacramento County, he said.
“My roots go down very deep in this soil, so it is with great pride and humility that I receive this recognition,” he said.
Ford, who was born in Chicago, said he too is an “immigrant” to California.
“I was not born here, but unlike some people I’ve paid a lot of taxes here,” Ford said, before turning to Brown. “And they’ve mostly been well spent. Thank you.”
Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Shriver started the state’s Hall of Fame in 2006. Shriver thanked Sacramentans for supporting her during her time at the Capitol.
“None of us get here, or anywhere in life, alone, and certainly so many people who are here this evening in Sacramento opened their arms to me when I became first lady and helped me tremendously with everything that I did here,” she said.
Past inductees include César Chávez, Walt Disney, Ronald Reagan, Steve Jobs, Willie Mays, Tiger Woods, Jack Nicholson, George Lucas, Harvey Milk, Mark Zuckerberg, Magic Johnson, James Cameron, Joe Montana, Dolores Huerta, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Dr. Dre.