Fifty five years ago today, Rosa Parks was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama. When someone as committed and upstanding as Rosa Parks was arrested, the community rose up and boycotted buses for over a year. Their actions changed laws and inspired a movement and a nation.
Two weeks ago today, police in Butler County, OH arrested Bernard Pastor, an 18-year old undocumented student who has been in the USA since the age of 3. He is currently being held in a jail cell in Mt. Gilead, OH awaiting deportation as soon as next week.
Bernard has a lot in common with Rosa Parks: His community in Reading, OH, including dozens of his classmates, are sacrificing time and energy to support Bernard and to work to get him released because he is the ideal friend. He finished fifth in his high school class, starred on the soccer team, and led his teammates in the Star Spangled Banner before every soccer match. He also is a youth minister and worship leader at his father's church. While he is not the only great young person facing deportation, he is one whose story we know. The question is: will we be passive and do nothing, or will we act like those faithful folks of Montgomery did 55 years ago?
We are asking you to join us THIS SATURDAY at the Reading High School athletic fields (1600 West St. Cincinnati, OH 45215) at 11 AM for a time of storytelling and prayer. We will then go on pilgrimage to Butler County Jail, where Bernard was first held after his arrest, and will conduct a peaceful prayer vigil. The event will conclude by 1:15.
Bernard's classmates are asking you to prayerfully consider participating on Saturday to show your support on Saturday by:
1) Attending the Prayer Pilgrimage for Bernard. Bernard Needs Your Presence and Your Voice.
2) If you are clergy member, we need many of you to offer prayers for Bernard when we arrive at the Jail area in Butler County. If you are willing to pray publicly for Bernard, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
3) Everyone, please to go Pray for Bernard and sign in to commit yourself to praying for Bernard and for undocumented young people at 1 PM Eastern Time on Saturday, and spread the link: prayforbernard.com, to your networks around the country to get the nation praying for Bernard.
Thanks for being there for Bernard!