The following is a message delivered at the "Stand for Freedom in Iran" rally that took place yesterday at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, across from the United Nations.
Hello! I've been deeply moved by this gathering. This is amazing! My name is Lisa Sharon Harper. I am the executive director of NY Faith & Justice and the author of Evangelical Does Not Equal Republican ... or Democrat, and I am here today to say "Enough is enough!" Say it with me, "Enough is enough! Enough is enough! Enough is enough! Enough is enough!"
The whole world saw the elections in Iran and the crush of the Iranian government when they stole the election from the people! We saw it via social networking sources like Twitter and Facebook. Well I'm a twitterer! So, everyone say "Hi!" and I'm gonna take a picture of you because this is amazing!
[The empty space is the space directly in front of the stage. You can't see it from here, but the crowd reached back to 3rd Avenue from 1st Ave!]
Democracy is not enough!
Democracy is nothing unless that government protects the rights of "the least of these" in society!
Democracy is nothing unless that government protects the rights of the ones who live with their backs against the walls!
And that kind of democracy is achieved by protecting the basic human rights of all people within a society.
We watched Iran's election and it is unconscionable that 322 people have been executed just this year. It is unconscionable that every day citizens of your country were thrown in jail just because they wanted to have their vote count!
Enough is enough!
As a black evangelical woman I know something about the struggle for that kind of democracy on our own soil! My own evangelical forefathers and fore-mothers warred against my ethnic forebearers throughout the better part of the 20th century. I am speaking of the civil rights battles of the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. Evangelicals, by-and-large, fought for segregation and fought to enforce Jim Crow laws that denied the right to vote to my black ancestors. But that was the 20th century! This is a new century!
In the 21st century, evangelicals are finding their way back to their roots -- roots born in the 19th century when they led the way in the movement to abolish slavery!
So, President Ahmadinejad, a new generation of evangelicals -- white, black, Asian, and Latino -- are standing in solidarity with the people of Iran today!
We stand in solidarity with this crowd and we say with one voice, "Enough is enough!"
Lisa Sharon Harper is the executive director of New York Faith & Justice and author of Evangelical Does Not Equal Republican ... or Democrat.