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179 Crosses Rise

by Thomas MacMillan | Mar 29, 2013 4:15 pm

(5) Comments | Commenting has been closed | E-mail the Author

Posted to: Immigrants

Activists planted 179 small white crosses in the New Haven Green on Friday afternoon, representing the number of people found dead in the desert in one year, crossing the border from Mexico.

The planting was part of a Good Friday demonstration on the Green organized by Unidad Latina en Accion and Seminarians for a Democratic Society (SDS). Organizers drew a parallel between the commemoration of the crucifixion of Jesus 2,000 years ago, and the modern day plight of immigrants in the United States.

Gregory Williams (pictured), one of the Yale Divinity School students who founded SDS, said the event was designed to help create a sustained campaign for immigration reform with communities of faith.

Seven New Haven pastors spoke to a crowd of several dozen people. Each took as a theme one of the seven last sayings of Jesus.

Pastor Scott Marks kicked things off by connecting the modern day quest for immigration reform to the challenges faced by African Americans. “I’m not an immigrant. I was forced to come here, in chains, in the bottom of a ship!” Marks said.

Rev. John Gage of the United Church on the Green said the United States should be a country that values all families, not just “documented families,” Gage said.

Tina Colon Williams sang between sermons.

Father Eddie de Leon hailed the new pope’s recent washing of the feet of a female Muslim prisoner.

“We the immigrants have been forgotten by all governments through the past 20 years,” said Pastor Manuel Romero.

People held crosses as they listened.

Each of the 179 crosses has the date the body was found and the name of the person, if known.

After seven pastors spoke, activists pounded the crosses into the ground.

The crosses are planted in the form of a cross, facing the U.S. District Court building. Williams said they will remain on the Green until Sunday.

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posted by: AMDC on March 29, 2013  6:45pm

How dare you compare the crucifixion of Jesus Christ for the sins of humankind to illegals dying trying to enter the United State illegally.  Most of the Yalies and locals present probably ignore Jesus and his message the rest of the year but dig him up when convenient to their latest cause.  There is no holiness in illegals crossing borders.  While I deplore the treatment of innocent people, I do not compare it to Jesus.  You do not help your cause.

posted by: HewNaven on March 30, 2013  12:07pm

I’m pretty confident that if there was an historical Jesus, he wouldn’t appreciate ANYONE using his image and likeness for anything except as an example of a man who became enlightened, akin to the historical buddha (if there was such a person). You can read THE THIRD JESUS by Deepak Chopra to learn about the universal truths and the inward path that early christians followed, which was subsequently squashed by the Romans. It was much more along the lines of personal spiritual development (esoteric) and less like the top-down dogmatic thinking that you see in organized christianity.

posted by: teacherteacher on March 30, 2013  1:14pm

This was a moving event, and it was amazing to see such disparate congregations come together. We need to keep dreaming of the nation we want to become, and keep imagining what a truly welcoming democracy could look like.

Thank you to the organizers, speakers, and musicians for the space to reflect on all of this yesterday.

posted by: OhHum on March 31, 2013  11:54am

“Gregory Williams (pictured), one of the Yale Divinity School students who founded SDS, said the event was designed to help create a sustained campaign for immigration reform with communities of faith.” If the SDS that is mentioned is Students for a Democratic Society then Mr.Williams founded this organization when he was 1 years old. But then that inaccuracy is minor compared to the inference that people trying to cross into the U.S.A. illegally are martyrs.

posted by: Pat from Westville on March 31, 2013  4:02pm

To OhHum: Read a little more carefully. This SDS is SEMINARIANS for a Democratic Society (SDS).
” The planting was part of a Good Friday demonstration on the Green organized by Unidad Latina en Accion and Seminarians for a Democratic Society (SDS).”

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