Tonight’s vigil may have armed counter-protesters

UUA Moderator Gini Courter

UUA Moderator Gini Courter opened Saturday afternoon’s plenary with an important series of announcements about this evening’s prayer vigil outside the Maricopa County “Tent City” jail.

“I want to update you about what you should expect,” Courter said. “It will be very hot tonight, and there is no shade at the site of our vigil. There is pavement, concrete, and dirt, so almost all of us will be standing for extended periods of time.” There will be approximately 300 chairs at the vigil, added the Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray.

Based on information from the Phoenix Police Department, Courter said, “There will be counter-demonstrators at Tent City. It is common and legal for these counter-demonstrators to carry firearms.”

“It is absolutely critical that we refrain from engaging with the counterdemonstrators,” Courter said. “We must maintain our dignity and composure at all times.”

She urged people who feel threatened or endangered during the vigil to talk with trained volunteers, who will be wearing purple shirts.

Finally, she said, “You must be physically capable, emotionally grounded, and spiritually prepared.”¬†Youth under 18 may not attend the vigil without their sponsor.

A solidarity vigil will be held at the convention center during the vigil for people who cannot attend the Tent City vigil.

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