A storm is brewing here in Phoenix. I didn’t realize that Arizona had a monsoon season, but apparently this is it. Mornings dawn bright, hot, and clear, and then all afternoon the clouds gather and build, releasing lightning and thunder and making their presence known. Sometimes it even rains.
But we all know that this isn’t the only storm that’s brewing in this tense city. Tomorrow, the SB1070 laws will go into effect. Some of you may have heard that four of the twelve parts of the law have been suspended and will not go into effect. But that is not a victory, my friends. That still leaves eight human rights violations that will be enforced tomorrow with police raids.
The stakes just went up. We received word that three Chandler police officers, undercover, were shot in South Phoenix this evening. All three were rushed to the hospital. As I write this, one of the three has died. We do not know what their mission was, or if it has anything to do with the laws going into effect tomorrow. But it means that the law enforcement officers who will be acting tomorrow are already hurt, grieving, and possibly angry.
I just went through training for civil disobedience. I will be on the front lines with the non-violent protesters, starting on the steps of the State Capitol Building at 4am, where the people of this community have been holding a non-stop vigil since the state bill 1070 was signed into law—tomorrow will be the 104th day of the vigil. Many of the people at the vigil are undocumented, and it will not be safe for them to stay once the law goes into effect. Therefore, at 4:30am, many of us here in Phoenix will be joining with these people of the community as they are given a police escort to safety at Trinity Cathedral, where an interfaith worship, press conference, and rally will be held.
I have made a pledge to do everything within my power to stand in solidarity with the people of Phoenix. This isn’t about sides. It isn’t about who is right or wrong. This isn’t about Arizona, or the United States. At its root, this isn’t even about immigration. This is a global human rights issue. There are media teams from all over the world here tonight, and who will be documenting the events that unfold over the coming hours. It is vital that we give a show of presence that there are people here who care about love, compassion, and humanity.
I bought a bright yellow “Standing on the Side of Love” t-shirt. I will be wearing it with a stole tomorrow as I do what is necessary tomorrow.
Part of that may include getting arrested.
I have come to realize over the past year that my pristine criminal record is a privilege that I hide behind, and it is one I feel I need to give up. It is a spiritual decision, and it is a decision made of love so that I can stand freely in solidarity with the people who need me.
If at all possible, I will try to find a place to update this blog tomorrow. If you do not hear from me, it will be because I am unable to post. That reason could simply mean that I cannot find a wireless connection, or that my computer won’t work. It could mean that I was caught up in the sweep of history in the making and didn’t have time to detach myself.
Or it could mean that I’m enjoying the hospitality of a Phoenix jail cell.
At any rate, dear reader, I urge you to do what you can to stay informed of the events that are unfolding here in Phoenix tomorrow. If you ever wished you could have been alive for one of those movements that changes the world beyond recognition…it’s here. It’s now. Be present in whatever way you can. Show that you are a person of presence, who can love your neighbor as yourself.
And know that I carry you in my heart, whether that means marching in a parade, sitting in protest, or waiting in a prison cell. Just by being part of my life—reading this blog, leaving your comments—you are a huge support, and I am grateful for you. Remember: there are no small parts. We each do what we can, and by supporting each other, we form a beautiful whole.