Love Marches in Georgia Against Anti-Immigrant Legislation
Rev. Anthony David and Rev. Marti Keller are ministers at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta
Blog post by Rev. Marti Keller
On July 1, Georgia’s new state immigration law went into effect, following a federal court judge’s decision to enjoin a couple of the provisions, but allowing for most of them, similar to the law passed in Arizona last year.
A protest March and Rally took place beginning at the State Capitol on Saturday, July 2 in which a number of UUCA congregants, staff and both ministers took part. Many wore yellow Standing on the Side of Love t-shirts as part of our associational campaign to promote justice, equity and compassion in human relations. The Atlanta congregation participants were joined by clergy and members of other local UU congregations.
Crowd estimates were from 10,000 to 15,000 people jamming the streets on a hot, humid day. The speeches and the march itself were interspersed with shouts of Si Se Puede
( Yes We Can), a campaign theme of President Obama .
The Unitarian Universalist contingent added their voices, singing “We Are Standing on the Side of Love”to the tune of Siyahamba, as we had practiced during the General Assembly in Charlotte.
Rev. Anthony David, senior minister, wearing his ministerial collar, spoke at the rally following the march, asking policy makers in Georgia and those who will be asked to enforce the law to remember the universal Golden Rule of doing unto others what we would have done unto us. “There’s always been suspicion towards so-called outsiders, he said, “a pattern of fear in which the Golden Rule gets thrown out on its ear, and some group living among us becomes…a convenient scapegoat for problems that are bigger than any one group, problems that come from centers of power…”
Rev. Anthony David also spoke at the event:
We will be continuing our focus on immigration as a human rights issue and multi-culturalism within our congregation and community into the next program year. We are planning a reception and tour at the nearby Latin American Association in the fall. The purpose of this is to make people aware of the needs of the Latino community, the services provided and the many different ways we can be supportive. Some of their needs include:
- Driving families who do not have access to transportation to detention centers to visit family members that have been detained by ICE.
- Raising funds to put up billboards which reflect positive messages about immigrants.
- Hosting a citizenship drive or recruit volunteers for a citizenship drive. The Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials( GALEO) and the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) are planning two citizenship drives and will need volunteers – one is being planned for the fall and one in the spring.
Monitoring the redistricting process in GA to ensure the process is fair to minorities and respond as necessary.
- Putting pressure at the Federal level for immigration reform (Senator Robert Mendez and others will be re-introducing a Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill that includes the DREAM Act).
- Putting pressure on the Obama administration to STOP the immigration raids which are separating families.
We will continue to work with grassroots partners and other Unitarian Universalist Congregations in Georgia, as well as working to connect with other progressive faith groups.