I arrived late Saturday night from Phoenix and our General Assembly of Unitarian Universalism, a gathering of the tribe, replete with drumming, dancing, laughter and, this year, more than a few tears. There are always tears at GA, in part because of the realization of the wounds of our world and the great work we have before us. It might also be due to the heat this year, where the average temp was well over 100 degrees. Its a dry heat but then so is your oven. I had a small part in the process that chose the site although my advice was anywhere but Phoenix. It was between Long beach, downtown LA and Phoenix, oh, and hell, hell was also on the short list.
This was the year we marched in support of our undocumented sisters and brothers in protest against SB 1070 right up to Sheriff Joe’s tent city door. It was immensely moving. Stories abound of the grace of love and strength that came from strangers meeting to protest the human and civil rights abuses the State of AZ visits upon its Latino population. One of the most moving stories came from ayoung man who had served in the Marine Corps but was jailed unjustly for DWM –Driving while Mexican because of the color of his skin and because he didn’t happen to have his license on him. What are we to make of those who have been lost by our confusing and painful times? In some ways I believe our country is in a new cold war of values, between those who sincerely believe that a rule of order and religious values should override the rights of those who look and act differently and those who see the role of government to help others. It’s still a war and in the end nobody survives intact without all of us picking up the pieces. Regardless who wins in the election.
As I was walking back to my hotel, I was approached by a homeless man who asked who all these yellow shirted people were. I told him we were Unitarian Unversalists and we were here to protest SB 1070 and call for the humane treatement of those detained. He smiled. He had friends who had been arrested. It wasn't right he said. And then he asked me for five dollars. As I handed him the money, I thought how much of a difference it makes to show up and stand up for love.
With Grace and Grit, John