February 10, 2017
WORDS SPOKEN AT A VIGIL IN SUPPORT OF A CITY COUNCIL DECISION TO DECLARE OLYMPIA, WASHINGTON, AS A SANCTUARY CITY
My name is Reverend Thomas, lead minister at the Olympia UU Congregation. Tonight I want to speak about fear.
I understand, very well, the fear of terrorism. I want to live where I am not afraid of terrorist attacks, and because of that, I want others also to live free from terrorism. I want to share the safety I feel here, with those who are fleeing violence and terror in this world.
I also fear to lose the protection of the law. I want to know that I can call the police, or military, to protect me if need be. I want others to have the same knowledge. But there are people who fear the police and the military of their countries. I want them to share in the protections I enjoy.
I am glad I can thrive within the laws of this land, and this lovely city. I want the law to protect me and all I hold valuable. But if the laws of this land are unfair, unjust, or hurt people, then I will demand that they be changed. And, if those in power do not act, I will resist those laws to draw attention to the need to make laws that are more just, equitable and compassionate.
Tonight we affirm our decision to be a sanctuary city. That means we will not use our public resources to enforce national immigration laws. I cannot tell you what to do, but I can ask ‘what exactly does that mean?’ Does it mean that we will not use our public resources, to harm others? Or does it mean we will use public resources to provide shelter and sanctuary from that harm? Does it mean that we will passively resist, or that we will actively use our private homes to offer sanctuary, or will we put our bodies in between those we are called to protect and the foes that threaten them?
There are many people seeking sanctuary. May we all feel safe and free of fear. May we find the power to maintain all that keeps us safe. May we, tonight, extend the circle of care and protection we feel to all in Olympia, and to all who need it.