Posts Tagged ‘SB 1070’

There Are Some Asks You Simply Cannot Ignore

1 Comment | Share On Facebook| There Are Some Asks You Simply Cannot Ignore Share/Save/Bookmark Sep 18, 2013
Rev. Wendy von Zirpolo is arrested by a police officer in an act of civil disobedience.

Post author Unitarian Universalist Rev. Wendy von Zirpolo is arrested in an act of civil disobedience. (Credit: Sidney Traynham, Church World Service)

Last Thursday, I was privileged to join over 100 women—20 of whom are undocumented immigrants—in an act of civil disobedience on Capitol Hill organized by the We Belong Together campaign. We blockaded the intersection outside the House of Representatives, calling them to pass compassionate immigration reform that treats women and children fairly, with hundreds more people standing by to support us. Before we were arrested, I helped lead the group in an oath recommitting to work for immigration reform as one of several faith leaders, including Sandy Sorensen of the United Church of Christ and Sammie Moshenberg of the National Council of Jewish Women.

The decision to risk arrest was easy on every level. As a citizen, my soul weeps at the horrific acts of dehumanization we inflict upon immigrants and citizens of color in the name of patriotism. As a mother, my heart breaks knowing how many of those impacted are children. As a religious leader, I am called to put my faith into action and my body literally on the line to say “not one more death or deportation.” We must achieve compassionate immigration reform. We cannot allow other important issues to distract us or delay that reform. The collective soul of our nation and our people is at stake. My prayer is that our leaders take quite seriously the urgency involved and get busy paving a fair and compassionate pathway to citizenship. One that honors families and protects the most vulnerable among us—our children.

For me, last week’s action was particularly important because of the focus on families. The image of families being broken apart was what helped me see migrant justice as a human rights issue in the first place. I’ll never forget the experience of marching with families protesting Arizona’s SB 1070 in 2010. It helped me understand who is really impacted by our current system and practices around immigration and detention. My hope in participating in this action was that more and more people join us in that understanding.

We Belong Together civil disobedience

100 women block an intersection outside the U.S. House of Representatives and call for compassionate immigration reform. (Credit: Sidney Traynham, Church World Service)

When I was first asked to participate in this action, I rapidly replied “yes” and signed up. I was pleased to be able to lend my body, mind, and spirit to what is surely one of the most important civil rights struggles of our day. I had assumed the event was in nearby Boston—it was only after I registered that I realized it was all the way in Washington, DC! That took a bit more doing. With commitments on either side of the day of the action, attending suddenly turned into a heavy lift and perhaps just not possible.

As I drafted my regrets, another email arrived—an email that shared the list of speakers, including an 11 year-old daughter of an undocumented parent, and the fact that over 20 undocumented women were risking arrest. As a white, well-aged woman who continues to benefit from our dominant systems, I knew I would fare well in any arrest. The “price” of participation would be primarily in travel. That the majority of the 100 were Latina and nearly one fourth were undocumented spoke miles. The decision quickly became one about the price of not participating. What does it mean when we leave the heavy-lifting, the inconvenient, and the dangerous to those already at great risk in our society? What does it say when we let questions like “is it worth it?” and “will it matter?” enter into our discernment? What does it say about our commitment when we look at this as “our work” rather than “our lives?” There are some “asks” you simply cannot ignore.

Rev. Wendy von Zirpolo is the minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Marblehead, Massachusetts. Rev. Wendy is a committed social justice activist and was previously arrested in an act of civil disobedience during the July 2010 protests of Arizona’s SB 1070 and inhumane treatment at the Maricopa County Jail. She also serves as the Co-Chair of the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Journey Towards Wholeness Transformation Committee.

For more information on last week’s civil disobedience action, check out the media round-up from the We Belong Together campaign.

One Click Away from Compassionate, Family-Based Immigration Reform

No Comments | Share On Facebook| One Click Away from Compassionate, Family-Based Immigration Reform Share/Save/Bookmark Apr 17, 2013

I have been hearing so many amazing stories of Unitarian Universalists making advocacy visits to tell their elected officials that immigration reform must respect the inherent worth and dignity of all people.

In 2010, I marched and later was arrested in Phoenix, AZ, because my faith values taught me that it is wrong to tear apart families and criminalize whole communities. No person is illegal. I stood on the side of love to stop immoral legislation that sadly began spreading from one state to another.

Now finally the moment is here, a once in a generation moment, to pass federal legislation that will create one immigration policy for our nation.

An immigration reform bill was introduced this morning, so now is the time to tell Congress that reform must be compassionate.

You can do that right now, by simply sending this message to your local elected official. Tell them that reform must keep families together.

One of the proudest moments of my presidency was when thousands of Unitarian Universalists witnessed at the Tent City detention center in Phoenix at Justice General Assembly last year calling for an end to detentions and deportations and for reform of our immigration laws.

You and I both know how powerful our voices can be when we mobilize and work together to make real change happen. Click here to add your voice today towards compassionate, family-based immigration reform.

Love has no borders, love keeps families together, love respects the inherent worth and dignity of all people.

In faith,

Rev. Peter Morales
Unitarian Universalist Association

The message above went out on Wednesday, April 16, 2013 to Standing on the Side of Love supporters. You can sign-up for these emails here.

Richmond Congregation Responds to SB 1070 Ruling

No Comments | Share On Facebook| Richmond Congregation Responds to SB 1070 Ruling Share/Save/Bookmark Jun 26, 2012

The First Unitarian Universalist Church of Richmond, VA held an event yesterday afternoon to witness to the mixed emotions present in the wake of the Supreme Court decision on SB 1070.


“We stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Arizona who continue to have their full humanity denied by this and other similar laws,” said Aija Simpson.

An Update From Arizona on SB1070

No Comments | Share On Facebook| An Update From Arizona on SB1070 Share/Save/Bookmark Jun 25, 2012

The message below went out on Monday, June 25, 2012 to Standing on the Side of Love supporters. You can sign-up for these emails here.

On Saturday night, thousands of us showed up at tent city in our Love shirts to speak out against the inhumane treatment of immigrants in our country, especially in Arizona.

All over the world, media has taken notice of our message of justice, human rights, and love. You can read about our presence in the Washington Post:

Today, as you might have heard, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling on the constitutionality of Arizona’s SB1070. The court struck down several provisions of the law as unconstitutional. However, for now, the “show me papers” provision of the law, which will invariably lead to racial profiling and egregious civil right violations, remains in place.

“We never had faith in the Depart of Justice Supreme Court case,” says Puente, Arizona. “We have faith in our people. WE WILL NOT COMPLY!” Please watch this video:

While many of us who came to Phoenix will return to our daily lives, many of remain in Arizona in the struggle, and thousands of us have renewed our resolve to serve as moral voices and advocates for those who suffer under our nation’s broken immigration system. At a press conference in Phoenix today, UUA President Rev. Peter Morales joins our partners Puente Arizona NDLON and others in speaking out against the injustice that SB1070 represents. “Unitarian Universalists hold among our principles the affirmation of the inherent worth and dignity of every person,” says Rev. Morales. “People of faith cannot rest easy as long as any part of SB1070 continues to strip the worth and dignity from migrants and their families.”

No matter what the courts decide on SB1070, it is the people of Arizona who will have the last word. And our voices will be heard in support of dignity and fundamental fairness.

“I didn’t know what it would look like, but last night seeing you with all the candles, in the heat, all together… that’s what love looks like,” said Carlos Garcia, Director of Puente Arizona, referring to Saturday’s tent city vigil. “The people from our community couldn’t believe, as people just kept coming and coming.”

As we all know, this fundamental struggle for human rights continues. As people of faith and conscience, we must continue our acts of solidarity, our local advocacy, and our steadfast service as voices for justice.

In faith,

Dan Furmansky
Campaign Manager
Standing on the Side of Love

Rev. Rod Richards: Meditation on the Border

No Comments | Share On Facebook| Rev. Rod Richards: Meditation on the Border Share/Save/Bookmark Jun 23, 2012

Meditation on the Border

Saturday, June 23, 2012 / General Assembly / Phoenix, AZ

By Rev. Rod Richards

We humans are the line-drawers. We are the border-makers. We are the boundary-testers. We are the census-takers. We draw a line to separate this from that, so that we can see clearly what each is. We create a border to define our place, so we can take care of what’s there. We test boundaries to find if they are real; if they are necessary; if they are just. We congregate within those boundaries in families and tribes and cities and countries that we call “us.” And we call people on the other side “them.”

But our minds seek boundaries that our hearts know not. The lines we draw disappear when viewed with eyes of compassion. The recognition of human kinship does not end at any border we have created. A wiser part of us knows that the other is us, and we are the other.

Let justice flow like water and peace like a never-ending stream. Let compassion glow like sunlight and love like an ever-shining beam. The rain—the blessed rain when it comes—the sunshine; the breeze; the life-giving air we breathe; they know no boundaries. Neither do our compassion; our good will; our concern for one another. God has no borders. Love has no borders. Let us lift up the awareness of our unity as we celebrate the awesome patterns of our diversity on this beautiful day.

Rev. Rod Richards is presently serving the UU Church of Southeastern Arizona in Sierra Vista; beginning August 1 at the UU Fellowship of San Luis Obispo County.

Rev. Rod Richards is presently serving the UU Church of Southeastern Arizona in Sierra Vista; beginning August 1, he will be serving at the UU Fellowship of San Luis Obispo County.