We will not give our wrists up easily to unjust laws. This is our lunch counter moment.

I was proud to join the 100s who rallied at Penn State’s gates for love and compassion on Sunday.

We oppose Donald Trump’s ban on people from Sudan, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Somalia, Yemen, and Libya. We oppose a decision that consigns thousands of people to the hands of ISIS/ISIL. We oppose it because it throws them to deaths. It pushes them toward radicalization, toward hatred and violence. It drags them–and us–away from love and peace. We oppose this decision because it shrinks the reach of freedom.

The ban tries to bind our hands. But we will not give our wrists up easily to unjust laws. This is our lunch counter moment. Just as American men and women peacefully assembled to end Jim Crowe laws in the American south, so too must we peacefully assemble, rally, march, and petition the powers that be to stop these injustices. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Injustice anywhere, is a threat to justice everywhere.”

To all of my Christian, Jewish, and Muslim brothers and sisters, the prophets from Moses to Jesus to the Prophet Muhammad all call for radical love, for welcoming the stranger, for feeding the tired and the poor, for loving your neighbor as yourself, and washing one another’s feet. My fellow Americans, we are a nation of free people, a nation of immigrants, a nation of laws that are built on freedom and equality, and the radical notion that we the people are the source of all power. We are a nation that builds bridges, not walls, a nation of openings not bans.

When our board passed the equity and inclusion resolution, I voted for it because I believe in the dignity of all people. All members of our diverse community are owed dignity. We are a diverse community that is also one community. We are a community of people who’ve been here since before the first European settlers, who came with the first American settlers, were brought here on slave ships against their wills, and a people who have chosen to come here in the last few years looking for a better life. Some came with the hope of education. Some came here fleeing war and oppression.

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

So reads the inscription on the Statue of Libery. She doesn’t ask for your rich or your strong. She doesn’t extend her hand eagerly to the glimmering elites who can buy freedom. She knows that too often they buy their freedom by holding down others, enslaving them, destroying their families, and turning their backs. Lady Liberty doesn’t ask for Assad or Putin. She asks for Omran Daqneesh, the dust-coated bloodied boy whose face is burned into every soul capable of compassion. She is the best that we are, people who open hearth and home to provide warmth, food, a bed, and ourselves.

No matter your reasons, if you are here in the United States to be part of a beautiful community, you are most welcome here. If you are in Ferguson Township where I serve as a supervisor, I personally welcome you here.

In Pennsylvania, Senator Bob Casey and Governor Tom Wolf have already stood on the right side of history. What will Senator Toomey do? What will Representative Glenn Thompson do? Will they stand for freedom? Will they stand for the best of our country?



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