General Assembly: GA Presentations: Presenter views and opinions do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the UUA.

UCC President Rev. Joffrey Black Addresses Candlelight Vigil at Tent City Jail

General Assembly 2012 Event 438

Program Description

Standing on the Side of Love—Stop the Incarceration and Human Rights Abuses of Migrants!

Over 2,000 people are being held at Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s infamous Tent City Jail. Another 6,000 people are being held in other Maricopa County jails in the same areas, south of W. Durango St. To date over 427,000 inmates have gone through Tent City Jail where people are crowded together on wooden planks in broiling heat in the summer and freezing cold in the winter.

This facility represents the worst of a culture of cruelty perpetrated in the name of the U.S. government and is a key component of the federal system of mass detention and deportation. With the passage of SB1070 and copycat laws around the country, and the U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement ‘Secure Communities program,’ the climate of fear has reached crisis proportions.

We will Shine a Light on the human rights abuses here in Arizona and across the nation! We stand on the side of love.

Hear Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) President Rev. Peter Morales, United Church of Christ General Minister & President Rev. Geoffrey A. Black, other interfaith clergy, and local UU and human rights leaders.

Join in witness, prayer, song, and testimonials.



REVEREND MORALES: I now want to introduce the Reverend Joffrey Black, president of a denomination bigger than ours. He's been so good to come with some of his staff. He went on the tour with us. He's a champion, as we are. The UCC is a champion for compassion and human rights. The Reverend Joffrey Black.


Rev. Joffrey Black

REVEREND BLACK: I want you to know that when I look out on this crowd, I get pumped. And I need to get closer to the mic, they tell me. But I get pumped, and that just gives fire to my spirit of being persistent. I want to tell you some things about how change comes about. Not that you don't already know it, but just to remind you about how change happens. Change does not happen overnight. People have to be persistent. We have to come back again and again and again.

Because there's a man in that prison who is in our face, saying he doesn't care that we're here. That his story is stronger and more powerful than ours. And as my colleague just reminded you, we need to take this message throughout the nation. Because what we're looking at in that prison is a national disgrace. And we should all be ashamed.

So I am urging you tonight, take the fire, take the light, take it every place you go. And let people know what is going on in their name, in their country. That human rights are being violated in gross ways. And that we cannot stand by. We know what happens when people stand by and say we didn't know what's going on. We have a history of that, that we can recall. And we know what needs to happen if we're going to stop it.

And that means that every one of us has to make this a personal issue, a personal issue. Knowing that there are people in that prison that are being treated like dogs. But they are our sisters and brothers. They're being treated worse than animals. They are our sisters and brothers. That's the contradiction that we cannot allow to continue.

So I urge you to find the allies. You found one in me, and the United Church of Christ. We are going to stand with you. And we will join you. When you come back, we're coming back with you. And the only thing I'll say is that there's a sea of yellow shirts out there tonight. When we come with you, there will be an ocean of red shirts with you. Good night.