Remarks at “Beyond the Ban: Stand with Immigrants”

February 5, 2017

East City Park, Feb. 4, 2017

Hello, friends!  It’s good to see familiar faces, and even better to see some new ones!  The people of the Palouse rise to resist hate and bigotry.  The people of the Palouse rise for justice, kindness, human rights, and each other.

When I was a little girl, my very favorite classroom job was the “Flag Leader.”  This job consisted of leading the pledge of allegiance and choosing which patriotic song we would sing together.  My little heart beat strong with love for my country.  I was and am deeply patriotic.  Seeing veterans march in their uniforms still brings me to tears.

As I’ve grown and matured, I’ve had to face the dark side of this country’s history- slavery, the genocide of indigenous peoples, Japanese internment camps.  I understand these important stories to be part of an epic battle between our highest ideals on one side, and fear and greed on the other.  For most of my life, I have hoped- and believed- that our ideals were winning.

And so this executive order that restricts travel and blocks the immigration of refugees hurts my patriotic heart.  I feel deeply, deeply ashamed.  This is not who we are as Americans.

We are a country that values fairness, and it just isn’t fair to block travel, keep families apart, and put children in handcuffs just because of where they come from…the color of their skin and their religion.

We are a country that is good, and it is evil to turn our backs on people trying to flee the war in Syria.  This is perhaps the greatest humanitarian crisis of our times, and by virtue of our foreign policy, we are complicit in it.

We are a country that is brave, and we should not and cannot let fear drive us to act in ways that violate our deepest principles and drive us apart.

The people who are impacted by this horrible executive order are innocent.  They are fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, children, students, teachers, doctors…and they HAVE DONE NOTHING WRONG.

After 9/11, we were asked to take our shoes off in the airport…we were willing to have our things x-rayed and picked through, willing to throw out drinks and toiletries, willing to wait in longer lines.  These are inconveniences.  But we are here today to say we ARE NOT WILLING to allow racial profiling and unjust treatment of immigrants.

I am also deeply troubled by the rise of Islamophobia and hate crimes in our nation.  The burning of the mosque in Bellevue…the shooting in the mosque in Quebec…these were tragic events, and they were the terrorist attacks we need to be working to prevent.

So I want my Muslim neighbors to hear and see and feel…here on the Palouse, you are welcome, and you are loved, and you are appreciated.  And if ever you feel endangered or need our help, just ask.  As a leader in the faith community, I promise you, we will be there for you.

As salaam alaikum…peace be upon you, today and all days.



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