Rev. Ken Brown: Wear Your White Ribbon
Post by UU Pacific Southwest District Executive Rev. Ken Brown
From the moment Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier, civil rights and baseball have been linked. This July 12th the nation will be watching the All Star game for more reasons than a love of baseball. Though asked by numerous civil rights organizations and concerned baseball fans, Bud Selig refused to move the All-Star game from Arizona. Selig has remained silent on the issue of civil rights but we hope fans and players will follow in the civil rights tradition the Major League Baseball is so proud of and show their support of our cause by wearing white ribbons in support of federal immigration reform and against hate-based legislation.
Shortly after SB1070 was passed, some baseball players and management stepped up to the plate, like White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, San Diego Padre Adrian Gonzalez, and Florida Marlin Jorge Cantu, who spoke out against SB1070. But here in Arizona, more than a year later, the backlash from this draconian legislation is still being felt, and for this reason we want to use the platform of the All Star game, when the country will have their eyes on Arizona, to join with those ball players who bravely voiced their concerns last year and continue to speak out against the injustice of hate-based, racially polarizing bills. We ask that you lend your voice to the growing call for compassion and unity both within Arizona and within the United States as we work for a federal solution and not a piece-meal state approach.
What does SB1070 have to do with baseball?
Baseball is a game that transcends barriers and brings America together, reminding us of what makes our country and this game unique: our diversity. More than 25% of major league players are immigrants. Many players may themselves be considered “reasonably suspicious” under the current law. This is wrong. This is a violation of the freedoms we hold dear as Unitarian Universalists and citizens of the United States, and it must stop. Divisive, scape-goating legislation has no place in our communities and should never be tolerated.
SB1070, the “Papers, Please” law has united a variety of nonprofit, business, civil rights, student, and community groups to decry the tone in which policy-makers around the country are using migrant populations for their political gain. While the call to boycott Arizona continues, we are asking that you stand with us as we work to Unite Arizona and celebrate our state’s true All Stars, to celebrate all of us, the folks who work every day, contribute to our economy, and make Arizona their home. We hope as fans and players come to Arizona they will be able to see it for what is, a welcoming place. We are working to make sure Arizona continues to be a welcoming place for all, not just some of its residents, and with your help we can make it happen.