It’s a Justice Rally.

Bishop Minerva Carcano, Resident Bishop of the Desert Southwest Area, said to the crowd, “Someone asked, “Is this an immigration rally or prison rally? I would say, it’s a Justice Rally.” A few hundreds of people gathered at the Action Rally on Detention and Private Prisons on Saturday, April 28, at the Sail Pavilion of the Tampa Convention Center. People didn’t seem to mind the typical noon-time heat that can be hard to bear during this time of the year in Tampa.

People were in circles holding the sign of “Profit from Pain is INHUMANE – Dignity Not Detention.” They cheered at the passionate speeches by bishops, pastors, and lay people who are involved in the work of immigration and prison ministry. Connie Mella, a woman from the United Methodist Church in the Philippines spoke on the realities of migrants in her country. She challenged global detention policies that incarcerate many migrants in the Philippines. She said, “At least 3,500 people move every day for jobs. At least 6 people are detained every day.” Private prisons are used to detain migrant workers!

At the Rally, a significant step taken by the United Methodist Board of Pensions to add a social investment screen for private prisons was celebrated. A challenge was made for the mass incarceration of immigrant communities of color as well.

A significant action will be taken by the Council of Bishops. Bishop Carcano said, “The Council of Bishops is going to write a letter to all 50 states and Puerto Rico raising the voice against the privatization of prisons.”

I asked Bishop Rosemarie Wenner, Resident Bishop of German United Methodist Church, “Why is this an important issue for us?” Bishop Wenner said, “Immigration is one of the most critical challenges that we as United Methodist are facing right now. It is our Methodist identity to work for justice for those who are forced to leave home. We are called to seek to teach the church that immigrants are a blessing not action on Detention and Private Prisons on Saturday.”

This rally modeled a helpful partnership between different agencies -the United Methodist Task Force on Immigration (of which I am part), the Council of Bishops, United Methodist Women, MARCHA, local churches and some other organization.

Will you continue to help spread the word, “Profit from Pain is inhumane.”

Sign up for our newsletter!

umnews-subscriptions
Social Concerns
The Rev. Isaac Collins, a United Methodist pastor, co-leads a Bible study, “Swords into Plowshares: What the Bible says about injustice, idolatry, and repentance,” at the base of the Robert E. Lee statue on Market Street Park, Charlottesville, Va., on June 11, 2020. The steeple of First United Methodist Church is visible over the trees in the background. In 2019, Collins and the Rev. Phil Woodson first offered the Bible study using Confederate statues as sites and subject matter. Photo by Phil Woodson.

Seeing removal of statues as ‘doing no harm’

United Methodists in Virginia and North Carolina are among those calling for Confederate monuments to be moved away from public spaces.
Bishop Joel Martinez. Photo courtesy of the Council of Bishops.

Daniel Rodríguez left legacy of servant leadership

In a 50-year ministry career, the Rev. Daniel Z. Rodríguez advocated for justice and helped ensure that The United Methodist Church served Hispanic/Latino and ethnic communities.
Minju Cindy Oh. Photo courtesy of Minju Cindy Oh.

Korean peninsula and 'Amazing Grace with Peace'

A Korean-American high school student writes about her grandfather's longing to meet his family in North Korea and how that inspires her to work for the peace movement.