STATEMENT OF THE REV. DR. ROBERT M. HARDIES, ALL SOULS CHURCH
CO-FOUNDER, DC CLERGY UNITED FOR MARRIAGE EQUALITY
May 9, 2012 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Rev. Dr. Robert M. Hardies, senior minister of All Souls Church, Unitarian, and co-founder of DC Clergy United for Marriage Equality, released the following statement on the occasion of President Obama’s declaration of support for marriage equality.
“President Barack Obama’s declaration today in support of same sex marriage represents a great victory for equality and for love.”
“Nearly 200 District of Columbia clergy of all faiths and races have voiced their support for marriage equality. We’ve declared that you can be both pro-God and pro-gay. Today we stand by our president.”
“While there are honest differences on marriage equality within the religious community, all religious traditions affirm the sanctity of the human conscience. Like many people of faith, the President has clearly wrestled with this issue, and today made a powerful declaration of conscience.”More >
The message below went out on Wednesday, May 9, 2012 to Standing on the Side of Love supporters in the state of New York. You can sign-up for these emails here.
This message is going out to all of our allies in New York. We wanted to share the email below from our friends at Empire State Pride Agenda. A bill to ban discrimination on the basis of gender identity has passed the Assembly. Now, the State Senate needs to hear from constituents if we can expect a vote on this common sense measure. Can you be in touch with your Senator today and ask them to support this measure and urge that it come for a vote? You can find out more details from ESPA.
Standing on the Side of Love
From: “Lynn Faria, Empire State Pride Agenda”
Date: Tue, 8 May 2012 12:01:55 -0700
Subject: Email your senator, maximize Equality & Justice Day
Today hundreds of pro-LGBT New Yorkers from all walks of life will join together at the Capitol for Equality & Justice Day. We will rally, build strong coalitions and make the case to legislators for a transgender non-discrimination law, government support for LGBT health and human services and increased funding for our homeless and runaway youth.
Contact your representative so that transgender New Yorkers can live their lives treated as fairly as anyone else. Here’s an excerpt of an anonymous story from our TRANScribe Project, illustrating why it’s so important to pass this bill:
“We don’t treat people like you here.” Still confused, maybe from a haze of cold medicine, I said, “People with asthma? I don’t need a specialist or anything; I think I just have bronchitis.
“No, we don’t know where to put you. You know, people who we can’t place.” The light went on. I stated, “Right, you don’t want me here because you can’t tell if I’m a man or a woman”. It was now too late to go elsewhere, and I was furious…
…All I was asking for was treatment for a routine medical problem, but my appearance was so out of the routine that I was treated as a medical anomaly — As if my right to literally breathe were offensive. Read more…
When we meet with legislators to make the case for our community, they always tell us they want to hear from you. And we should assume they’re going to hear from the other side!
Whether you’re here with us today, or cheering us on from your corner of the Empire State, I know you will all do your part to make the impact of our collective call louder than ever.
Interim Executive Director
Empire State Pride Agenda
P.S. Whether you’re joining us in person or not, you can join the conversation on Twitter @prideagenda with the hash tag #ej12, or you can get updates, share photos and tell your story at www.facebook.com/prideagenda.More >
UUA Joins Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility in Lauding Social Justice Work of Catholic Women Religious
In representing the UUA with the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), I have had the privilege of working closely with members of Catholic orders of religious women on campaigns to improve corporate behavior. I have seen these nuns work tirelessly, some for decades, fighting apartheid in South Africa, child labor in corporate supply chains, human trafficking abroad, and environmental pollution here in the U.S. While the positions of the UUA don’t line up with their views on every issue, their deep commitment to social justice and to the least powerful among us is tangible in everything they do. They are an inspiration to me.
Recently, the work of these dedicated women of faith has been called into question. In response, the ICCR has issued a statement of support, which can be found here.
ICCR is a 40-year-old network of faith-based investors exercising their power as active shareowners to transform companies. Together ICCR members promote sustainable practices through engagement with company management. The UUA has been an active member of ICCR for many years and has partnered with other faith groups on numerous campaigns. Today, on behalf of the UUA, I am proud to voice our support for the ICCR and the Catholic religious women who work for justice.More >
The message below went out on Tuesday, May 8, 2012 to Standing on the Side of Love supporters. You can sign-up for these emails here.
For the last six months, we have watched together as people’s personhoods were debated in the public square. We have given every ounce to work toward defeating the constitutional amendment here in North Carolina. You have given your fullest measure of devotion: hours of phone banking, rallies, vigils, public pleas, petitions, political organizing, prayers, worship services, donations and collections. As the day closes on voting, and the results come in, it looks unlikely that we will defeat this insidious amendment.
But, are we defeated?
For the last six months, we have come together. We have created new relationships and partnerships with people joining the struggle for justice and equality for ALL people. New voices have come forth. A network of faithful people now stand ready with all we will need: rallies, vigils, marches, pleas, petitions, political organizing, prayers, sermons, donations, and spirit. As the day closes on voting, and we look out across our beautiful home of North Carolina, it looks likely that something new has emerged in the wake of this vote—a way forward.
Are we defeated?
The better question, friends, is:
Are we ready?
Tomorrow morning, we will rise and wake to a new day. We will make coffee or tea, and drinks sips with loved ones. The dogs will need walking and the cat will need feeding. We will go to work and stand around the water cooler. We will hold hands and hug. We will smile and see our people, God’s people, everywhere. We will go home, call a loved one. We will relish in food that is simple but shared. We will walk forward together making this world a better place. We will listen for the call will come again. We will make love, nurture our children, read bedtime stories, laugh and at last just before our eyes close to the day know that we could never be defeated. Hope lives on.
Hope lives on in this place we all call home. From the Blue Ridge Mountains to the rolling Piedmont and out along the coasts of the Outer Banks, hope lives on in North Carolina and her people stand ready to step into its legacy.
The faith and devotion of those who have gone before us beg us to step forward. From Stonewall to today, they urge us onward and ask a single question:
Are we ready?
Take heart friends, hold onto love and the gratitude of those who have gone before for all that you’ve given. Know the journey toward justice calls us forward. Hope is our promised companion, and equality for all our promised land.
Come and go with me to that land.
In faith, hope and love,
Rev. Robin Tanner
Piedmont Unitarian Universalist Church
May 6, 2012. The Boston New Sanctuary Movement organized a vigil outside the Middlesex Correctional Facility. Since Massachusetts does not have detention centers, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) contracts with community prisons to hold the detainees. This facility currently has close to 300 undocumented persons. Standing on the Side of Love was there in full force.
Two kids. About 12 and 9. A girl and a boy. Crying inconsolably. Hugging their moms. We rub their backs, try to comfort them. And, we are crying with them – tears or no tears!
Just before this: One of the mothers is on the microphone. You cannot ignore her voice even if you are deaf. Never mind if you – like me – don’t know Spanish. Her fury and exasperation is flowing out of every pore of her body. Her small body is shaking, trembling. She says, now in English: “Jesus; I love you. I love you for you.” Jesus is her husband’s name. No más deportaciones, she cries. We all take up the chant. No Mas Deportacions! No more deportations!
We are a group of some fifty people, gathered in South Boston, on a beautiful spring Sunday, right outside the Suffolk County Correctional Facility. It is a big and imposing building. I have driven past it on the Southeast Expressway many times, but never had any idea what it was. Here I am now with many others, facing the building.
We chant, we sing, we pray. We read the names of more than a hundred who have died in detention; the last one, right here at this very facility. Their only crime: they did not have their “papers.” Rev. Wendy von Zirpolo, minister at the UU Church of Marblehead, reminds us that, except for the Native Americans, we are all immigrants. The Pilgrims arrived with no documents either, I recall.
While the Obama administration has stated that ICE will focus on violent offenders and people convicted of crimes, and not break up families, last month the Department of Homeland Security released a report that flatly belies this policy. From January to June 2011, Immigration and Customs Enforcement removed 46,486 undocumented parents who claimed to have at least one child who is an American citizen. The extraordinary acceleration in the dismantling of these families, part of the government’s efforts to meet an annual quota of about 400,000 deportations, has had devastating results. Children of these families experience psychological and economic disruptions, including housing and food insecurity, and anxiety, frequent crying, changes in eating and sleeping patterns, withdrawal and anger. In the long run, the children of deportation face increased odds of lasting economic turmoil, psychic scarring, reduced school attainment, greater difficulty in maintaining relationships, social exclusion and lower earnings. (See The New York Times April 20, 2012 ‘Deporting Parents Hurts Kids‘)
We start marching, shouting slogans. We are at the back of the building, along a major roadway. Some people inside the Facility see us. They wave to us; they pound on the windows. Our spirits are lifted: they know we are here. We hope their spirits are lifted too; there is support outside. We march on, cross a little street, go up some stairs, walk on to a bridge. Now we are face to face with the Facility – only some 250 feet separate us. We chant slogans. We wave our hands. We wave our signs. We are communicating in a language we know not; it must be the language of love!
There are fifteen or so windows in front of us. Some seem to have only one or two people; others seem to be packed. Waving, pounding, they try to look outside the windows. We can barely make out their faces, but we can see their hands and arms. And make out human forms. It is all blurry, except for the inhumanity of the incarceration!
Does anyone want to say anything to the detainees inside? Yes, this woman does, someone shouts.
She comes charging forward. She is from Guatemala. She takes the microphone and with a sincerity and force you will never ever see at a political event, starts speaking. I am right behind her. She is forceful. Her voice is strong but full of pain. I don’t understand the words, but I want to reach out and hug her. We are with you, Sister, don’t worry. We will reunite you with Jesus, I want to say. But I just put my hand on her shoulder. She keeps going.
Cars drive by on the road. A few honk. Others pay no attention.
She talks for some five minutes. Now she is sobbing. Julie, a divinity student, comes forward; she knows Spanish and can speak with her. Jesus was picked up some two weeks ago. He is not in good health. Heart and kidney problems. Dear God – this does not sound too good, I say to myself. Doctor? Not, not yet, but next week; they’ve promised him. I ask her if she has a lawyer; yes, she says. Does she needs any help – in any way, can any of the groups present here do anything. No, thank you; she is just very grateful that people have come out in support of the detainees. She does not need anything.
The boy comes, hugs her, starts to cry. Another woman is coming forward, distraught but smiling. Her husband is also in there. No, she does not want to say anything. Her daughter is hugging her, crying.
Across the street, in one of the windows, they have put up a sign, one letter at a time: FREE US.
We disperse. I don’t know where the two women came from. I don’t know how they heard about this vigil but organizers from Centro Presente are with us so they may have connected us all. I don’t know what their life has been like. I have so many questions, but no vocabulary to talk with them.
I get back to the comfort of my home and my family. Wonder what they are doing? Wonder what they are thinking?
And: How long will this insanity go on? How long will we – all of us – let it go on.
Rashid Shaikh is a member of First Parish Cambridge Unitarian Universalist Immigration Task Force.
For more information on how to connect with interfaith groups and others conducting vigils, find a New Sanctuary Movement chapter near you (there’s no national website currently, so search for your city on the web) and Grassroots Leadership. Congregations and individuals can join the UUA in the interfaith campaign Restoring Trust: Breaking ICE’s Hold on our Communities to stop the ICE ‘Secure Communities’ mass detention and deportation program.More >