Rev. Matthew Crary and the Universalist Unitarian Church of Riverside have been organizing with interfaith colleagues to stand in solidarity with the immigrant and jewish communities in Riverside, California who are being threatened by Neo-Nazis.
Between the screams of hate and the heated responses, we stood peacefully on the side of love. Facing us, across a police line in riot gear, were Neo-Nazis bearing swastikas and storm trooper uniforms. Behind us fumed bandana wearing Anarchists – cursing, jeering, taunting the Nazis and authorities – looking for a fight.
Amidst this chaos were undocumented workers and their families, all but forgotten. They were the focus of the Nazi protest and the reason behind the nearly 600 residents and 62 community organizations coming in response. Tragically, the escalating fear and fury of just few on both sides left behind the meaning of the event: our community is diverse and encompassing.
We, however, did not forget.
Over 15 members of our congregation, all ages and walks of life, stood with undocumented workers and their families. At times we felt threatened by the violence so close to the surface, but we stayed standing for love. At times we felt lost within the rising alarm and anger, but we remained standing on the side of love. All the time we were there, we stood for a community of human worth and dignity, of respect and acceptance. We stood for love.