A Force to Liberate the Marginalized

“This is the kind of fast day I’m after: to break the chains of injustice, get rid of exploitation in the workplace, free the oppressed, cancel debts.

What I’m interested in seeing you do is: sharing your food with the hungry, inviting the homeless poor into your homes, putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad, being available to your own families.”

Isaiah 58 MSG

This passage of scripture was referenced by Pastor Mike at The Way Christian Center this morning. The church has been active in organizing around social justice causes and violence prevention work. The sermon confronted how Christianity has been used to justify oppressive and at times murderous actions against others and how it runs counter to its actual call for followers to be a force to liberate the marginalized.

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After the church service I went to SFO to protest for the release of refugees being detained under Trump’s Executive Order. This order is an egregious assault on the constitution and an inflammatory action toward a religious group which runs completely counter to what we stand for as a country. As a person of faith, elected official and a non profit leader I’ve been deeply invested in improving my community. In service of that work, I had to show up to make a statement against an order that is a violation of everything I’ve spent my life building. My participation today was a call to the words of Isaiah to “break the chains of injustice...and free the oppressed.”

An important component of this fight will happen in the courts. I think it’s great that ACLU has gotten a surge in donations. We need their work to be successful in local and national attacks on our liberties. Also, I was encouraged by the direct action of the protesters. During my time at SFO I ran into colleagues, fellow elected officials, educators and friends making their voices heard.

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I live in San Francisco on a non-profit salary and a $500 stipend to serve on the Board of Education so I don’t have the means to make large contributions. Also, I am huge support protests and free speech, but I don’t often participant in marches. The justice I’ve sought is more aligned with the legacy of Booker T Washington, Harriet Tubman and Whitney Young. They committed their lives and made tremendous sacrifices in service of the ongoing work to awaken people by using the system or rejecting it in service of uplifting the oppressed.

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I support the organizers here and around the country that gave me an opportunity to join a community in opposition to the criminal policies of the current administration. As we move forward, I will remind myself of the words of Isaiah with a renewed sense of purpose behind my ongoing work to support my fellows that continue to suffer at the hands of the state. With this reliance on faith and love, the walls being built with not stand. For even if a wall (real or imagined) exists, we’ll get free like Harriet Tubman and others that came before us. We’ll get free, or we’ll die trying.