Operation Unity: Opposition Through Action

August 21, 2010

On Friday evening August 20, I attended a rally at the City Market in downtown Indianapolis--Indiana Believes: Operation Unity--Opposition Through Action.  This rally was organized as a protest against anti-immigration activities and a celebration of the diversity that makes Indiana a vibrant state. 

At the same time about 20 miles away in Plainfield, IN ,  Arizona's Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio was speaking at a fundraiser for Indiana Treasurer, Richard Mourdock .   According to the rally flyer, "Arpaio's practices, including his infamous sweeps that target anyone who appears to be an immigrant, have been the target of lawsuits. Arpaio is the subject of a federal investigation regarding this abuse of power in going after individuals who have oposed his tactics. Arpaio believes in using physical appearance to stop and inquire about immigration status."  This rally was in protest to the visit of Sheriff Arpaio. 

The flyer stated, "Hoosiers should embrace the benefits of a changing Indiana demographic that moves our state into the 21st century and entry into the global community.  We believe--Indiana believes--in moving forward."   Signs at the Rally included, "Indiana Believes," "Keep Families Together," and "Embrace Diversity."  The crowd of about 100 people was quite diverse.

Speakers included a man whose family was detained in a Japanese-American Interment Camp during World War II, a man who is a descendent of the Potawatomi Indians who were driven out of Indiana in 1838 in the Trail of Death , Indiana Congressman, Andre Carson who is African American and Muslim, and Zach Adamson , a candidate for City-County Council who is openly gay.

CFI Indiana had an information table at the rally.   Paul Kurtz , founder of Center for Inquiry,  has stated in Affirmations of Humanism :

  • We believe in an open and pluralistic society and that democracy is the best guarantee of protecting human rights from authoritarian elites and repressive majorities.
  • We are concerned with securing justice and fairness in society and with eliminating discrimination and intolerance.
  • We attempt to transcend divisive parochial loyalties based on race, religion, gender, nationality, creed, class, sexual orientation, or ethnicity, and strive to work together for the common good of humanity.

We need to remember the words of Martin Niemöller :

"In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up."