Leaders from the Jewish and Christian faiths joined with the immigrant community to pray for Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and others who were victims of a lone gunman in Tucson, Arizona, Saturday, January 8th, 2010. Members of the faith community stood alongside activists and supporters at the state captiol in Phoenix, Arizona, after an impromptu vigil was called by leaders of various immigrant movements.
“Christina-Taylor Green. (Deceased) had two personal connections to Major League Baseball; She was a daughter of Los Angeles Dodgers scout John Green and a granddaughter of former Philadelphia Phillies manager Dallas Green, says Big League Stew’s website.
A Jewish speaker explained how her faith responds to crisis. She said for those who had lost their lives, we pray their memories be a blessing. She asked the community to pray for those who are sick, which in this case is Congresswoman Giffords and other shooting survivors.
The video was placed on You Tube by San Angelo Media.
Earlier in the vigil, immigrant leaders asked the community to assume a leadership position by remaining calm. They say the solution to fear and anger many people were feeling is through peace. When we find peace within ourselves, we can take that message to those who are in grief, they say.
A tradition of holding a vigil at the Arizona state capitol was started by Jeff Zetino and a hand full of immigration right’s activists after the passage of ,Arizona SB 1070, a racial profiling law, last year. The activists originally met in front of Gov. Jan Brewer’s mansion imploring her not to sign the law. However, when the vigil grew too big, the activists decided to move it to the capitol so they would not disturb neighbors.
Zetino helped start a membership program to foster new leaders and register voters called Promise Arizona, Faith, Hope, Vote. Petra Faclon, who took the reigns of the organization, put out a broadcast email within hours of the shooting asking people to meet at the capitol for a vigil. Other groups made the same appeal.
Movie director Dennis Gilman has become involved in the Arizona immigrant struggle. He is documenting abuses that occur to immigrant workers and protesters. Salvador Reza and members of the Puente Movement have also been involved in educating the community, staging protests and documenting abuses against immigrants.
On July 29th and 30th, 2010, the “Phoenix 100″ were arrested protesting barrio raids by Sheriff Joe Arpaio and the passage of SB 1070. Rev. Peter Morales and Rev. Susan Frederick Gray from the Unitarian Universalists Association of Congregations were arrested, along with Reza. Approximately 100 activists were arrested in the two day protest.
Congresswoman Giffords was active in supporting the immigrant community in their fight against SB 1070. The opposition to her re-election effort was fierce and vitriolic. The faith leaders together with immigrant activists will remain calm and pray for those who have passed, their families and those who are struggling for life today.