We need you again in Arizona. For many of you, this is not the first time we have called you to fight human rights abuses against immigrant and People of Color communities in Phoenix. But, it could be the last. As Unitarian Universalists, thousands of us have been part of that fight. Mijente, Puente, and the Not One More Deportation campaign (along with many other community groups) have launched a campaign to invigorate thousands of working class People of Color here in Maricopa County by fighting for the protection, dignity and rights of their communities. They are calling us to action. Calling us because they have had enough of elected officials who are treasured by the right-wing for the sole reason that they are racist. Who have put youth in chain gangs. Forced Brown people in my state to live in fear every time they walk out the door. Spoken with joy about a 'concentration camp' filled with their families. My faith has kept me in this fight alongside them for many years. My faith has called me to not quit, and not turn my back on this fight. So, I will not turn my back on this call. Will you join me?
Earlier this week, we sent an invitation and call to Phoenix from B. Loewe at Mijente. This fall, we’re doubling down because Black and Latinx organizers across the country are leading local and national actions to stop the violence facing our (and their) communities. For many of us, it has been a confusing season. We have watched the rhetoric and actions of hate intensify and scale up around the country. Everywhere we turn we have to hear evil spoken of our beloveds: our beloved Black family, Brown family, women-identified family, LGBTQ family. It can be hard to know what strategies and projects to participate in at this key moment because there are no easy answers. But campaigns can move us from words to action, from numbness to clarity. They can remind us who we are, what we are working for, and who is by our side.
As Unitarian Universalists, we say we come when called by the marginalized, by the oppressed, by the justice speakers. So, can you come? It is short notice. It is not convenient. Heck, some of us (I know) cannot even afford it. Yet, if you can please do come. Here in Phoenix there are so many Unitarian Universalists who have left a positive footprint on this long fight against human rights abuses in Maricopa County. Our work alongside this community has mattered before. It matters now.
We just returned from Atlanta on our third stop on the #ReviveLove Tour. Next up the team will be heading to St. Louis for some awesome programming with Black Lives of UU and Rev. Sekou and the Holy Ghost all weekend long! With each stop, we're connecting with organizers lifting up the importance of unflinching steady support and nourishment of our movements, particularly in these times of backlash and repression. We hope our next episode of Fortification brings you some of that love and fortification.
In our fourth episode of Fortification, Caitlin is joined by Mab Segrest. Segrest is an feminist activist, writer, and the Fuller-Matthai Professor Emeritus of Gender & Women's Studies at Connecticut College. In her book, Memoir of a Race Traitor, Segrest explores her experience as a white lesbian organizing against a virulent Far Right movement in North Carolina against a backdrop of nine generations of her family's history.
Six years ago, Unitarian Universalists showed up in force in Arizona to challenge the state's racial profiling law. Now, we need you again.
On October 21-23, we are calling the nation to Phoenix to be part of ending human rights abuses against immigrant and People of Color communities in Maricopa County.
UU's are no stranger to this fight. You were among the first to respond when Puente and others launched the summer of human rights in 2010. Together we crafted a vision for a different kind of General Assembly and thousands of you showed up to hold vigil outside the Sheriff Department's tent city, the one referred to as a 'concentration camp,' during Justice GA in 2012. And even as cameras moved to other headlines, UUs locally have steadfastly accompanied the movement that has brought Arizona to a tipping point.
We’ve been on the road with the #ReviveLove tour over the last week and have heard again and again - from long-term to brand new organizers - the urgent need for unapologetic steadfast support and nourishment of our movements. We hope our next episode of Fortification does just that.
In our third episode, we sat down with Reina Gossett - an activist, writer, and filmmaker. Along with Sasha Wortzel, Reina wrote, directed and produced Happy Birthday, Marsha! a short film about legendary trans activist Marsha P. Johnson starring Independent Spirit Award winner Mya Taylor. She is co-editor of the forthcoming New Museum anthology on trans art and cultural production to be published by MIT Press in 2017.
Click here to take a listen today
Click here to learn more about Reina and her work as well as a series of reflection and discussion questions. If you haven't already, be sure to subscribe on iTunes and SoundCloud to be sure you don't miss an episode. We hope you find the conversation fortifying in your own work toward love and transformation.
With love and solidarity,
The Fortification Podcast Team
Abhimanyu Janamanchi, Caitlin Breedlove & Nora Rasman