Approximately 60 advocates and faith leaders from across the United States joined No More Deaths in Ajo, Arizona on August 5th to call attention to the criminalization of humanitarian aid and the crisis of death and disappearance in the west desert (which stretches between Ajo and the México–US border). These faith leaders came to stand in solidarity with humanitarian-aid workers and local residents who assert their right to provide humanitarian aid in the borderlands.
“As people of faith, there’s an intrinsic obligation to help others in need and protect and affirm the inherent dignity and beauty of every single human life.”
Mary Katherine Morn
Nine No More Deaths volunteers are currently being prosecuted for their work in the west desert. These charges come during a national attack on asylees and refugees, repression of humanitarian-aid workers, and an increase in deportation and incarceration of marginalized communities.
“Migrant deaths on the southwestern US border are a continued reality in 2018 and providing humanitarian aid is being treated as a crime,” said Alicia Dinsmore, a long-time volunteer with No More Deaths. “Each and every one of us has a fundamental right to give and receive lifesaving aid without the fear of persecution.”
The effort is a collaboration between No More Deaths, the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, and the Unitarian Universalist Association involving leaders and members of many faiths from around the US.
“As people of faith, there’s an intrinsic obligation to help others in need and protect and affirm the inherent dignity and beauty of every single human life,” said Mary Katherine Morn, CEO and president of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee. “We cannot—and will not—allow partisan politics based on racism, xenophobia, and nationalism to bend our moral compass in a direction that turns a blind eye to injustice.”
“I spent nine years in Arizona advocating for the rights of migrants and witnessing the myriad injustices leveled against them in the name of ‘security’ and ‘protection,’” said Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray, president of the Unitarian Universalist Association. “I’m coming back to Arizona this weekend because my conscience and faith demands that I do so and that I call attention to the abject dehumanization of human beings and the callousness with which their suffering is treated.”
Organizers are calling for all current charges against humanitarian-aid workers to be dropped and for land managers in the west desert to ensure that civil humanitarian response is allowed on public land without fear of harassment or prosecution. Please sign on to the Organization’s call (www.nomoredeaths.org) to #dropthecharges and assert that people arriving at our border deserve to be met with #waternotwalls.