Post submitted by Alex Kapitan, UUA Congregational Justice Administrator
Yesterday morning UUs joined a coalition of immigration advocacy groups and supporters to stand on the side of love in front of the Massachusetts State House in Boston.
This federal program ensures that all fingerprints taken at local police stations are automatically run through federal immigration databases. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) then transfers whoever they think might be “deportable” straight into the detention and deportation system.
In the meantime, individuals are deprived of all legal representation and due process and cannot be released on bail.
Far from making communities more secure, such a program breaks up families, makes the public afraid to report crimes, and increasingly pushes the United States toward a future as a police state.
Among the rally’s speakers was Rev. Fred Small, minister of First Parish Cambridge, a member of the New Sanctuary Movement. Rev. Small passionately proclaimed:
We are here this morning to stand on the side of love with immigrant families and workers and students. We know that the only secure community is the beloved community.
If the Bible is your authority, hear the Book of Leviticus, chapter 19, verses 33 and 34: “When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”
Following the rally a delegation delivered a letter directly to Gov. Patrick’s office, calling on him to publicly reverse his decision. The letter was signed by 30 organizations, including the Unitarian Universalist Association.
We need your help to remind the governor of his campaign promises to support immigration reform.
Please call Gov. Patrick at (617) 725-4005 and ask him not to sign onto the ICE Secure Communities program. Tell him that we need programs that help immigrant families—not ones that criminalize their communities, instill fear, and encourage racial profiling.
The message below went out to Standing on the Side of Love supporters. Sign-up for these emails here.
Dan Furmansky is Campaign Manager of the Standing on the Side of Love Campaign.
Last year, Standing on the Side of Love re-imagined Valentine’s Day as National Standing on the Side of Love Day — a holiday of love and acceptance for everyone. Together, we brought our campaign to life, and we found creative ways to stand on the side of love with those who are all too often marginalized as “the other” in society.
National Standing on the Side of Love Day is a chance to uplift others; strengthen and support local partnerships; and join together, in joy and in purpose, with those who support the universal values of love and acceptance for all people.
This coming Valentine’s Day 2011 — our 2nd Annual “National Standing on the Side of Love Day” – the Standing on the Side of Love campaign wants to take the opportunity to recognize the courageous love in our lives and in our communities.
As I sat down to write you this message, an email came through to me from my friend, Steve Melov, letting me know that his mother, Bernice, passed away at the age of 92. I cried upon hearing the news. Bernice was a very special woman, and I adored her. She was also the embodiment of courageous love.
Throughout her 70’s and 80’s, Bernice Melov witnessed, learned, taught and mentored as a national office volunteer for Parents, Friends & Families of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). Later on, Bernice and Steve were super-volunteers at Equality Maryland, the state’s LGBT civil rights group. When I served as Executive Director of the organization, Bernice showed up in the office week after week to help with whatever was most needed.
Every year, Bernice would join us in Annapolis to testify before the Maryland legislature for marriage equality. A 90-year-old woman in a wheelchair is someone who automatically commands the ears of those around her, and Bernice more than deserved the deferential attention. She spoke with great conviction, wisdom, heart, and maternal love.
Bernice Melov was an ordinary person who used her extraordinary power to shine the light on injustice. Through her words and deeds, she reached beyond her immediate circle, and even beyond her own comfort zone, to create societal change. She exemplified the values of inclusion, diversity, community, and equality. This is the courageous love that we should seek to uplift this coming National Standing on the Side of Love Day.
All around us, there are Bernice Melovs who embody courageous love. They fight to bring their same-sex boyfriend or girlfriend to their prom. They risk deportation to come out as undocumented and push for the DREAM Act. They are administrators and teachers who advocate zero tolerance policies around bullying. And they are citizens who actively and passionately engage in poll watching to ensure minority voting rights.
Indeed, the list of unsung heroes who embody courageous love is long.
On Valentine’s Day 2011, Bernice Melov will be at the forefront of my mind, and I will find ways to honor her for her courageous love. This National Standing on the Side of Love Day, who do you want to honor for their courageous love?
Wishing you health, happiness, and bountiful love during this holiday season and New Year,
Standing on the Side of Love
Today, history was made.
President Obama officially signed into law legislation to allow for repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. DADT ended the careers of 14,000 men and women in uniform, and deterred countless others from ever following the path of military service.
Below is video of Pres. Obama’s remarks. Said the President, just before signing:
Some of you remember i visited Afghanistan just a few weeks ago. While I was walking along the rope line…it was a big crowd of about 3,000. A young woman in uniform was shaking my hand…she pulled me into a hug and she whispered in my ear…”get DADT done.” And I said to her, “I promise you I will.”
For we are not a nation that says don’t ask don’t tell. We are a nation that says out of many we are one. We are a nation that welcomes the service of every people. We are a nation believes all men and women are created equal. Those are the ideals that generations have fought for. Those are the ideals that we uphold today. And now, it is my honor to sign this bill into law.
Standing of the Side of Love and Interfaith Impact Challenge NY Governor to Rescind Agreement Targeting Immigrants
This post provided by Robb Smith, Executive Director Interfaith Impact of New York, member at First Unitarian Universalist Society of Albany, NY
The Hispanic Coalition New York, Interfaith Impact of NYS (New York’s UU legislative ministry), a representative of ARISE (interfaith congregation-based community organization), and representatives of the Standing on the Side of Love campaign from the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Albany held a press conference Friday in Albany. The purpose was to commemorate International Migrants Day and ask NYS Governor David Paterson to rescind an agreement that New York State secretly signed last May with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement that unjustly targets immigrant communities and families.
View TV news coverage of the press conference here:
We are deeply concerned about the terrible impact that implementation of this agreement could have on minority immigrant communities, families and children. It opens the door to mass deportations, the destruction of productive lives, and the dehumanizing of strangers in our midst. New York owes a special debt to immigrants, and to treat them in this way is a betrayal of our deepest values.
Nationwide, more than 1,000 persons are deported every single day. The impact this is having on minority working class communities is incalculable. Arguments that a few criminals are caught in the ICE dragnets do not justify treating an entire class of persons as criminals. That is not the American way, and certainly not New York’s way. New York is not Arizona.More >
Dear Standing on the Side of Love,
I too served in silence and fear for over 24 years. I pray that the young folks coming up realize what a battle was fought AND WON so they won’t have to go through what so many of us did.
I was volunteering at Affirmations, our GLBT community center in Ferndale, MI when the vote went down. Three of my colleagues came barreling out of their office to embrace me as I sat there in tears. That they cared that much means so very much.
I would write more but the tears are here again – tears of joy to be sure.
Thank you and your team for all you did to get this passed.
Jack B. Miller