Watch video: Bishop DeDe Duncan-Probe speaks at Syracuse Lights for Liberty vigil

 In Bishop DeDe Duncan-Probe, Featured, Outreach, Way of Love

Watch above: Bishop DeDe Duncan-Probe spoke Friday, July 12, 2019 at the Syracuse Lights for Liberty vigil to end inhumane conditions in US migrant detention camps. The demonstration was part of over 750 taking place worldwide on the same date.

That children are being preyed upon, dehumanized, deprived of basic sanitation, and dying as a result of improper care within American detention centers at our border is not just wrong or embarrassing, it is a sin.

…America, criminalization is not an effective response in a humanitarian crisis. The adults and children at our southern border are not a political agenda or platform, they are humans and beloved children of God.


Transcript:

Last year the Episcopal Church had their national convention. We gathered in Austin, Texas near one of the centers where women were being held apart from their children. They had gone across the border together, been separated, and at the Hutto center the women were alone without their children.

It was a sweltering hot day when we drove through a neighborhood, past a school, to a large facility across from a neighborhood park. Imagine that your child has been taken from you, but each day you listen to children playing in the park and families gathering for picnics.

It is said that the developers of Alcatraz prison in California wanted the inmates of that prison to hear the frivolity of San Francisco across the bay as part of their sentence: to feel separated from freedom and life, confined to their cells.

As we gathered outside Hutto, we were looking into the prison for life and we saw it.

The women began to move things up and down the windows, communicating that they saw us. And later we learned that they could hear us and that our presence brought tears of joy that they were not alone, isolated in their grief and fear.

Tonight, my prayer is that once again our public witness in Syracuse might be seen and may be heard.

America, hear our voices and hear our protest!

We speak for the voiceless; we stand for the powerless! We have gathered because we reject the dehumanization that is happening in our country. The dreams of our forbears were for freedom, a land where people who have been terrorized by brutality and oppression, will experience liberty, justice, and the pursuit of happiness.

That children are being preyed upon, dehumanized, deprived of basic sanitation, and dying as a result of improper care within American detention centers at our border is not just wrong or embarrassing, it is a sin.

Once more the sins of institutional racism, ethnocentrism, and institutional dehumanization of others threatens the moral fabric of our country.

A parent fleeing persecution in an attempt to save their child…. how that person is treated by our government, our agencies, and our people… that is a reflection of our own morality.

We cannot lament the concentration camps, gulags, and tortures of the past if we remain silent and complicit in their reformulation in the present time.

America! See us, and hear us. This is our moment, our turn, our responsibility to act in accord with our own national ideals of courage, morality, and justice. We can be silent no longer.

I am a Christian because I believe the message of Jesus Christ: that love is stronger than hate, that forgiveness is the best response, and that loving our neighbors as ourselves is the path of peace and the way for a safe future.

America, criminalization is not an effective response in a humanitarian crisis. The adults and children at our southern border are not a political agenda or platform, they are humans and beloved children and God.

We need strong borders and effective immigration policies. That includes sanitary water, adequate food, sufficient shelter, and personal safety for all persons being held in institutions across America.

Last year we went to Texas to pray, to witness to the power of love: love for the stranger, love for the outcast, and those considered least among us. At that Hutto facility in Texas the women saw us; they held up white papers in the windows, moving them up and down and all around so that we could see that THEY could see us too.

Now we are standing in Syracuse, holding up our lights, shining our light so that all will see us!

We demand that the government leaders and those with the power to change this situation will stand for American ideals of justice and safety. We are a country of immigrants who welcome the stranger, love our neighbors as ourselves, and work for the dignity of every human being. That is our aspiration and that is our goal!

To the women at the Hutto Center, to the children in Juárez, to the outcasts on the Arizona border, I doubt you will see my face or hear my voice, but by God’s grace I pray you will feel these words in your soul:

You are not invisible!
God loves you!
We love you!

We are here!
We hear you!
We are united across political party, opinion, and geography, and we lift our lights for freedom.

And now we will speak and we will act.

Oh si lo hicimos; oh, yes we will!

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