By Cedric Lawson, Field Associate
Today, on the National Day of Prayer, people of faith sent a powerful message by kneeling in prayer and blocking the doors leading to the Alabama Senate.
Legislators continue to ignore the voices of pastors, families, businesses, farmers, and law enforcement officials warning of the disastrous impact of H.B. 56.
The new Alabama bill that was touted as a “fix” to H.B. 56 – H.B. 658 – takes racial profiling a step further by requiring police to check the immigration status of everyone in a vehicle, and not just the driver. This new legislation does nothing to address the humanitarian crisis that H.B. 56 has caused both economically and socially.
Alabama state senators prepare to vote on a new version of the bill that makes some provisions even worse. Alabama’s Conscience, a group that opposes H.B. 56 and any versions of the bill, felt compelled to take serious action expressing the need for repealing this law.
“These harsh laws cause good people to face unjust arrest every day,” said the Rev. Angela Wright on behalf of Alabama’s Conscience. “They risk arrest on the drive to church, their commute to work as they support their families, and when they take their children to school. Today love moves us to risk arrest for the sake of those who suffer daily across this state.”
Alabama’s Conscience demonstrated in order to ensure the voices of the most vulnerable were heard by legislators who have been unmoved by growing opposition to the law, but the group was removed by state police. Among those arrested were faith leaders, a student, a retiree, and citizens who were once undocumented immigrants.
“These laws are, by their very nature, granting permission for average citizens, of all ages to express their bigotry and prejudices towards a specific population,” said the Rev. Fred Hammond of Tuscaloosa.
“Alabama saw this with the Jim Crow laws of the 20th Century and knows the pain those discriminatory laws caused,” Hammond added. “When moral and religious teachings are dismissed as exaggerations, it is necessary for people of faith and conscience to step up and do everything in their power to prevent such laws. To remain silent is to be complicit with such evil.”
Haven’t seen the video yet? Take a look at Alabama’s Conscience stand up and fight, or kneel and pray, for what they believe in.