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Trials Begin for 15 Clergy and Leaders Arrested in July 29th SB 1070 Protests in Phoenix

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Jan 19, 2011

On January 18th, trials began in Phoenix for 15 UU clergy and lay people who were arrested for blocking the intersection in front of the Wells Fargo building, where the offices of Maricopa County Sherriff Joe Arpaio are located.

The arrest happened during the July 29th “Day of Non Compliance” protests against SB 1070.

Individuals will be in court this week and next.

The UU Congregation of Phoenix issued a press release:

The individuals who helped take over the streets of Phoenix this past summer gained national attention, while protesting the racist legislation contained in SB1070 as well as the inhumane treatment of undocumented residents who were taken into custody by local law enforcement.

Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Phoenix put out a call to all UU activists to “Stand on the Side of Love with Immigrant Families” that were being terrorized by Sheriff Joe Arpaio and the Maricopa County Sherriff’s Office. Rev Frederick-Gray Witnessed, before being arrested, that “Love is where our future is, not fear not hate”.

The activists are divided up into 4 groups of 6-8 for trial along with local activists who were also arrested.  The UU Clergy and lay people are from all over the country. Trials are taking place on January 20th, 21st, 27th and 28th at the Phoenix Municipal Court, 300 W Washington St, Phoenix, AZ 85003 Trials begin at 10:00 AM.

Please join us as we Stand on the Side of Love with our activists who showed “Courageous Love” and continue on as spokespeople for Compassionate Immigration Reform.

(For media inquiries, contact Sun Principe at justicedirector@phoenixuu.org or 916-807-5496)

Rev. Wendy von Zirpolo Serves at the UU Church of Marblehead, MA

Rev. Wendy von Zirpolo Serves at the UU Church of Marblehead, MA

One of the individuals arrested, Rev. Wendy von Zirpolo, read the following statement in court following a plea of guilty of civil disobedience:

Your honor, I treasure this country. I believe in our judicial system and the laws that protect all people. But there is a higher law which landed me here today. The law of our collective soul, some call God. It is a law that cherishes all creation’s children and insists that each of are due respect, safety, justice and love.

On my flight here this morning I reread the autobiography of Anne Moody, an African American woman who grew up in the midst of the battle for civil rights in Mississippi. A story she told mirrored a part of my fourteen hour experience in Maricopa County Jail. She tells of a young man being yanked from a gathering, dragged by police, not resisting arrest but unable to stand because of how we was dragged. He is beaten by officers and taken away, bloodied. The only difference between that story and what I witnessed on July 29th was that the beating itself took place away from my eyes. While inside the Maricopa Jail garage, I saw a young Latino man dragged past me and behind some vans, calling out “I am not resisting arrest. I am not resisting arrest.”. When I saw him again, perhaps only ten minutes later, it was clear he had been beaten. Beaten badly. This, nearly half a century since the horrific instances of racism were brought to a country
finally willing to see, to own and to correct, and yet, here we are today.

In Anne’s accounting, two white men sat watching in a car, unwilling to participate. Silent. Today, while it saddens me to find breaking a law of our land necessary, my God calls me to participate, my faith requires I not be silent. My faith calls me to stand with my Latina and Latino sisters and brothers and other people of color who are victimized, scapegoated and hunted by those who deform the laws of our human soul and construct evil legislation.

Thank you for listening ~

5 Responses to “Trials Begin for 15 Clergy and Leaders Arrested in July 29th SB 1070 Protests in Phoenix”

  1. Susan Frederick-Gray says:

    I will be there tomorrow in the court room for support to those arrested in front of Wells Fargo building–Standing on the side of love for justice for all people in Arizona.

  2. Jo Ann Augeri Silva says:

    So very proud of our minister, her courage and eloquence, and of the brave men and women who risked their own safety to stand on the side of love and justice.

  3. Kathy Burek says:

    Thanks to all of you for your courageous witness.

  4. REv. Stefanie Etzbach-Dale says:

    Holding you all in my thoughts and prayers, with deep gratitude.

  5. Dona Omanoff says:

    You are now in the legacy of Dr. King & so many others. How fitting the trial is being held this week when, hopefully, we are all looking at ways we can contribute to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
    As racism is involved wouldn’t it be great to have all humans get DNA tests and we’d see what we are made up. Maybe people wouldn’t have a need so much to be so bound to their “tribes.” wouldn’t it be great to honor being human & then extend that to other beings? I’m proud of you Rev. Wendy! You’re not chairman of Bank of Boston as you once planned but something so much more!

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