Morales: ‘Amigos and Arizona, we’re back!’

UUA President Peter Morales

UUA President Peter Morales

Two years ago, UUA President Peter Morales linked arms in the streets of Phoenix with other opponents of Arizona’s anti-immigrant law, SB 1070,  to oppose implementation of the legislation. Many, including Morales and the Rev. Susan Frederick Gray, were arrested during the protest, a show of solidarity with against hatred directed at the migrant, indigenous, and communities of color in Arizona

Last night, Morales stood with some of those same partners in the Opening Celebration of the UUA’s Justice General Assembly. “Amigos and Arizona, we’re back,” Morales said. “And this time, we brought several thousand of our good friends.”

Along with Pablo Alvarado, director of the National Day Laborers Organizing Network (NDLON), Morales extended an emotional welcome to the thousands gathered in the Phoenix Convention Center for the Justice GA. “You look beautiful out there,” Morales told the crowd. “This has been a long time coming.”

Alvarado said he was proud of and grateful for the relationship that has been built between Unitarian Universalists and people in Arizona struggling for migrants’ rights. The work of UUs and the partner organizations opposing SB 1070 “has set an example for the whole country of what solidarity truly is,” he said.

While Alvarado called Arizona an “epicenter” of anti-immigration legislation, it is not a “rogue state,” he told the Plenary Hall. “Do not allow the ugliness of Arizona’s example to keep you from seeing the Arpaio’s in your own backyard,” he said, referring to Maricopa County Sherriff Joe Arpaio, He urged people to go home to improve the climate for migrants in their own communities. “It is our moral obligation to do so,” said Alvarado. “Every one of us has a role to play in turning the tide from hate to human rights.”

Morales said that UUs have a history of standing on the side of love against slavery, equality for women, justice in the civil rights era, and equal treatment of LGBT people.  “We come to stand once more on the side of love, because love cannot keep silent. We will bear witness,” he said. “We’re in this for the long haul. Love is stronger than fear. Love is stronger than hate. Make no mistake: We will prevail.”

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