Thursday, August 26, 2010

48 into 1070

Many of those arrested at the Phoenix protests have had their day in court. Most UUs protesting the inherent racism in the anti-immigrant SB 1070 have been sentenced to community service. (I don't know if non-UUs got different sentences; it is at least plausible. That's for another post).

Some of us donated money toward the bail fund, to help the protestors get out of jail; might we not also stand in solidarity by doing some community service together? What if our congregations pledged to perform 48 hours of work (including education) around immigrant rights in their local community? What if we, as human beings, worked for 48 hours over the next few months to form real relationships with immigrants and immigrants' rights organizations around us?

At the very least, could each congregation pledge 48 hours of work between now and our "Justice GA" in Phoenix in June, 2012? My last year of college, I finally learned that doing the reading *before* class made the class much richer, and more enjoyable. If we do some learning prior to GA'12, if we get to know the specifics of immigrants' issues in our local communities, then we may learn more and teach each other more and reach out with deeper compassion when we gather in Phoenix.

So may we be.


At 10:07 AM, Anonymous Elz said...

Sorry, Chip, this really bugs me. I'll be honest,the Arizona law really stinks. But it is not the most important need facing our congregations today. Right now, my roommate and I need a ramp so she can get in and out of the house with her new walker. We are fostering a neighborhood stray because no one else seemed inclined to pay for its medical emergency and get it into the adoption system the week before Labor Day. But I just missed nine months of earning with broken bones, and no disability insurance because my secular income is retail.

I don't know where the UUA gets this Presumption of Privilege, but for some of us, that chapter is so over. We were educated to share, and to pay attention and reach out -- and we do all that. But what about completing that circle now that we are not so able anymore? Science tells us that what goes up comes back down. In the case of many UUs, that means our ability to care for strangers.

At 11:18 AM, Blogger Cynthia L. Landrum said...

Hopefully we're already doing community service! The irony of UUs being sentenced to community service is amusing to me. Umm... we do that anyway.

At 12:37 PM, Blogger Chip said...

Elz, I am sorry that you've missed nine months of earnings, and that you have no insurance, and that you and your roommate face many other challenges. I, too, am out of work--that is one reason I was glad to suggest a justicemaking project that would not require any money, just time.

That may be missing your point, though. You say that immigration reform is not the most important need facing our congregations today. Obviously, we need to do what is necessary for ourselves first--we need to don the oxygen mask ourself, before attempting to help others, in the airplane analogy.

That said, I think this issue *is* one of the more important issues we face. I don’t think this is about privilege, or noblesse oblige; this is about fundamental human rights. Like you and I, there are many, many people having a difficult time economically. That leads to anxiety, and to anger. If we let that anger go unchallenged, or untreated, it will only escalate into violence. It’s Niemoller ("first they came...") all over again. Anti-immigrant sentiments in Arizona…then other states… Anti-Islamic sentiments in NYC…and other places… If we do not present compassionate contrasts to hate speech and oppressive acts, it will soon be too late.

Again, we can only do what we can do. Sharon Welch wrote, “Solidarity does not require self-sacrifice, but an enlargement of the self to include community with others.” Let us not sacrifice ourselves, but let us use whatever resources we do possess, to engage this current crisis.

Put your own oxygen mask on first, and do not feel guilty about that—and then let us help others find their oxygen.

At 3:36 PM, Blogger Robin Edgar said...

What if U*U congregations pledged to perform 48 hours of work (including education) around dealing with clergy misconduct in their local community? What if U*Us, as human beings, worked for 48 hours over the next few months to form real relationships with victims of clergy misconduct committed by U*U ministers?

Just asking as they say. . .

I more or less suggested that UUA President Peter Morales should engage in such a "community service" as a "Lenten practice" earlier this year but I got the distinct impression that he felt that he had much better things to do with his time. . .


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