from Alison Harrington, Pastor, Southside Presbyterian Church
On May 29, the felony trial of No More Death’s volunteer Dr. Scott Warren begins. This is a big moment— not just for Dr. Warren, not just for No More Deaths but for all of us who believe that our faith calls us to act in the world for peace and justice. Let’s be clear— he is facing up to 20 years in prison for doing that which our faith traditions demand of us — welcoming the stranger, feeding the hungry, offering water to the thirsty. And let’s be very clear — any one of us could be on trial.
Here is a link to a great article about this case: The Prosecution of No More Deaths
For over a year, we have been standing with No More Deaths — hosting vigils, doing Minutes for Mission in our worship services, knocking doors and asking people to put out Humanitarian Aid is Never A Crime signs, calling the US Attorney to ask that the charges against Dr Warren be dropped— and now it is time to flood the federal court with our presence.
The visible presence of faith leaders during Dr. Warren’s trial is incredibly important as it undergirds the fundamental notion that not only is humanitarian aid not a crime— it is a fundamental aspect of what it means to be a person of faith in the midst of the death and suffering in our borderlands. Our visible presence communicates to the judge, to the jury and to our community that we stand with Dr. Warren, with No More Deaths, and with efforts to end death and suffering in the desert— and it clearly communicates that we stand against the clearly retaliatory actions of the government against No More Deaths.
No More Deaths and Dr Warren deeply appreciate the support of the faith community and have requested the following support (listed in order of importance):
Faith Flood the Courtroom June 5th
This is the big push— we want as many religious leaders and people of faith present on June 5th for an Interfaith Prayer Circle in the plaza in front of the courthouse that morning as the jury is arriving. Clergy from across the state and the nation are going to be invited to join us on this day. After the vigil, those who are able will head into the court room to fill every seat with a religious leader.
If you have any connections with well known national religious leaders that we could invite— please let us know.
Mobilize! Mobilize! Mobilize!
Please help us spread the word about June 5th and all of these opportunities throughout your own denominational circles and networks so that everywhere you look in downtown Tucson on June 5th you see a religious leader!
Daily Presence in the Courtroom
The trial is scheduled to last 2 weeks and it would be great to have a handful of us there each day. Again, seating in the front with Scott’s parents will be set aside for clergy— but it is important that you visibly communicate that you are a religious leader by wearing collars, stoles, or other vestments appropriate to your tradition. Here is the link to the google sheet, where you can sign up to be in court. Go down to line 34 and that is where you can sign up. Also there is a second tab to put down your contact information.
Daily Prayer Vigil
There has also been some thinking that a daily prayer vigil in front of the courtroom would be wonderful— not so much as a public action but rather to ground those who will be in court for that day. If you are interested in leading one of these times of prayer, please let me know.
Attend the Press Conferences
There will be press conferences on both May 29th and June 3rd and you are invited to attend and to invite your congregation to be present.
Thank you so much for your willingness to stand with Dr. Warren and with No More Deaths. These are frightening times. 20 years folks. He could go to prison for 20 years. Let's stand together-- there is power in our presence.