Rev. Wendy von Zirpolo: Help Us Amplify Our Efforts in Arizona
The message below went out on Friday, June 8, 2012 to Standing on the Side of Love supporters. You can sign-up for these emails here.
Like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, it took me leaving home to discover what was important in my own backyard! In my case, the twister was the storm of hatred fueling anti-immigrant legislation and activity in Arizona. Traveling there in 2010 and participating in protests and an act of civil disobedience fueled my getting involved in Massachusetts.
Since then, I’ve come to know the many human rights and immigrant community activists who for years have been engaged right here in my home community. I’ve learned how Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) is working to criminalize entire communities through efforts like the so-called Secure Communities program. With the support of The Boston New Sanctuary Movement and our Standing on the Side of Love Campaign, people like me have been able to raise our voices against Secure Communities and our inhumane system of detention and deportation that separates parents and children. Like my experience in Arizona, the vigils and protests here have been heartbreaking, frightening and hopeful. Heartbreaking, because I’ve stood with children whose parents are detained and children who have experienced hatred because they ‘look like’ they might be undocumented Mexicans. Frightening, because some people fighting to promote these programs have been aggressive and use hateful verbal and body language. Hopeful, because relationships of solidarity have been formed throughout the Boston area and it is making a difference.
I’m sharing this today because our General Assembly in Arizona is fast approaching. Thousands of UUs will be engaged in learning, witness and service and I am certain we will make a difference.
- But we are so much larger than our General Assembly!
One of the things that made a HUGE difference when we witnessed in Arizona in 2010 was knowing that UUs in many other parts of the country were attending and creating similar protests, either in direct opposition to Arizona’s legislation or in opposition to local efforts. We also received texts, emails, phone calls, facebook messages and tweets of support and prayer and also letting us know what was happening in other parts of the country. It was powerful then and it can be powerful now! Please consider joining us in spirit if you are not able to attend in person. Here’s how!
Mark June 20 – 24 — and plan your own local witness for justice and peace for migrants and migrant families!
In Massachusetts, our advocacy has made a real difference. Statewide adoption of Secure Communities has met with real resistance from elected officials, including Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino. But with Secure Communities spreading throughout the country, there is much work to be done.
When I return from General Assembly, I am committed to continuing my advocacy in Massachusetts. As they say, all change is local. You, too, can make a difference in your local community, and send the message that no human being is illegal, that every child is our child and that what makes our communities secure is love, not hatred.
Today, our Latina and Latino siblings and other people of color are being victimized, scapegoated and hunted by those who deform the laws of our human soul and construct evil legislation. It may sound harsh but I believe it to be true. But it is also true that people all over our country are mobilizing to stop these efforts and work for compassionate immigration reform and an end to oppressive profiling practices. We must participate. We must be the voice of love calling us all to the highest law – that which honors all humanity.
Hoping to meet you all in body or spirit June 20-24 ~
Rev. Wendy von Zirpolo
Minister, Unitarian Universalist Church of Marblehead, MA