Given that our focus lately has been on SB1070, the anti-immigrant bill in Arizona (covered in the Jizo Chronicles here and here), this week’s quote comes from Rev. James Myoun Ford, who traveled from his home in Rhode Island to Phoenix in May to take part in a day of solidarity with those affected by this bill.
Rev. Ford has the distinction of being both an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister as well as a Zen teacher (he is the successor to John Tarrant Roshi). He began studying Zen in 1966 with Mel Sojun Weitsman, then later received dharma transmission from Roshi Jiyu Kennett. Ford is the author of In This Very Moment: A Simple Guide to Zen Buddhism and Zen Master Who? A Guide to the People and Stories of Zen. You can also find his writings on his blog, Monkey Mind.
Danny Fisher interviewed Rev. Ford earlier in June–you can read the full interview here. This quote is from that interview:
In Arizona I saw my task as bearing witness. I wore a clerical shirt and marched with other ministers and priests. It was important to show that people of faith, of many different faiths saw this law as cruel. It was meant to underscore as we move into a national dialogue that while it is absolutely necessary to address the issues of undocumented immigration, we need to engage this conversation with a sense of decency and care, and avoid scapegoating and even worse things….
As a Buddhist I feel compelled to bear witness to our radical interdependence. As a citizen I feel compelled to bear witness to our being a country of compassion and justice. As a human being I feel compelled to bear witness to the humanity of these people who have come to this country seeking nothing more than hope.