Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Immigration Comes to Greenville

A friend from the Islamic Society invited me to a Rally that was to be held last Saturday in Greenville, South Carolina. That invitation read: No Hate, No Fear, No Ban! The Rally was to protest the travel ban which Mr. Trump had suddenly instituted on refugees and immigrants without warning. Thousands of lives were disrupted. Half-way to America, already approved for entrance--they were stopped. Many were sent back home. Students working on degrees and some Professors visiting relatives could not enter back into the United States. Some who had sold everything to buy plane tickets to the United States were turned back. Fortunately a Federal Judge in Seattle had the night before issued a nationwide restraining order lifting the ban. At least for a moment the closed doors swung open. But all those affected knew this could be overturned at any time. 

So we met on Saturday in the cold Greenville afternoon. 500 people came out. We were there in defense of all those that wanted to come here and had been turned away. We came to say to our Muslim brothers and sisters that we stand with you. We came to say that we believe America should be a place of no fear for those who come here simply to live. We came, remembering the thousands of Syrian refugees that had no place to go.

I was proud of the Church. A Methodist minister, a Catholic Bishop, a Jewish Rabbi raised their voices for us all. That rally made me proud to be an American. All across the country people much like those of us in Greenville gathered. I think we all met to say we do not like this redefinition of America where our borders are closed and we turn our backs on the suffering of the world. Not only is this UnChristian but it is UnAmerican.

Toward the end of our gathering someone came forward with a guitar. We all sang, "We Shall Overcome" and "This Land is our Land." I came away with hope for the future of our fragile country. Leaving I remembered that two blocks away I remembered there stood on Main Street a statue of Max Heller, the Jewish man who fled from Nazi Germany with his wife. They came to Greenville where they found a new home. Max Heller years later became our first Jewish Mayor. He said he would work to give back what Greenville and America had given to him. Greenville's beautiful Main Street is a testimony to his gratitude. I wonder if out there in that Saturday crowd and out there all over the world there were not some others who looked to us with hope for a better life. No Hate! No Fear! No Ban! Dear God, let it be so. 

--Roger Lovette / rogerlovette.blogspot.com

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