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Antiwar and Social Justice Movement Veteran Tackles Current Immigration Policy

Bruce Neuberger Atencion

By Jon Sievert

Race has long been a core issue in the United States with immigration and demographics taking center stage in recent years. The country is in a period of political and moral crisis. At this Sunday’s UUFSMA Service, Bruce Neuburger of the First Unitarian Universalist Society of San Francisco tells us the time for bold resistance is now.

Under Trump and Pence, the clash between an apartheid system ever in need of more cheap labor and a changing population demographic has aroused nativist fears and reached a critical point. Policies to “resolve” this conflict with a violent white supremacist program raise the specter of ethnic cleansing. Fascism is a word ever-more heard in public and private conversations.

The revelations of refugee children dying in ICE custody and an expanding system of camps housing immigrants and refugees in wretched and cruel conditions have brought the imagery of past horrors to the forefront.

“Never Again Is Now” has become the rallying cry for a growing movement.

Neuburger’s church resolved that it could no longer confine its concerns and outcries within the four walls of the church. On July 21, he and other members of its human rights working group called on the congregation to “witness” in the streets outside the church with pictures, banners, signs, chants, and songs. They began what has now been a seven-week series of public actions to amplify the demand that the US immigrant concentration camps be shut down and children reunited with their families.

A native of Southern California, Neuburger was raised in a family of Jewish refugees who fled Germany in the 1930s. During his college years in the ’60s, he got involved with the antiwar movement as a military reservist and then again as a GI organizer at a West Coast army training base. Beginning in 1971, he worked for a decade in the fields from Salinas to Calexico in the era of the farm worker movement, where he witnessed the racist apartheid labor system in the fields and the struggles against it. He retired three years ago after 30 years of teaching ESL and other subjects at San Francisco City College. In December 2018 and March 2019, he spent several weeks in a refugee center in El Paso with Annunciation House.

“In those decades,” he says, “I’ve seen how resistance changed the social terrain in California. This perspective allows me to see that while the present social climate in the US is moving in an ominous and dangerous direction, it is far from hopeless.”

For more information about the UUFSMA, including our Sunday morning children’s religious education program, social action outreach, weekly discussion groups, social activities, and Care Team, join us any Sunday at 10:30am at the Hotel La Aldea or check out our website at uufsma.org

 

UU Service

“Never Again Is Now”

Bruce Neuburger

Sun, Sep 8, 10:30am

Hotel La Aldea

 

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