Rev. Barber delivers 4th of July sermon in Raleigh blasting Trump immigration policy

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ByJoel Brown via WTVD logo
Thursday, July 4, 2019
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Barber's sermon was inspired by a speech delivered 167 years ago on July 5 by Frederick Douglass.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Reverend William Barber returned to Raleigh on the eve of the 4th of July to make his argument that the nation isn't living up to the ideals of Independence Day when it comes to immigration policy.

Inside the sanctuary of Pullen Memorial Church, organizers read off the names of many of the immigrants who have died inside ICE detention centers; some two dozen in the past two years.

Reverend Barber, who now serves as co-chair of the national Poor People's Campaign, did what he did so many times during the Moral Monday movement in Raleigh, focused on what he believes is the morality or immorality of current public policy.

Barber's sermon was inspired by a speech delivered 167 years ago on July 5 by Frederick Douglass, the legendary American social reformer, who escaped slavery and went on to become a national leader in the fight to abolish slavery.

Douglass' speech was entitled, "What to the slave is the Fourth of July?" It celebrated the founding fathers as great men for their ideals for freedom.

But, he called them out for the hypocrisy of slavery on American soil.

In his speech on Wednesday, "What to the immigrant and people of color is the Fourth of July," Reverend Barber made a similar case -- focusing on what he called political violence against immigrants and people of color under the Trump Administration.

"I say to America, how dare we celebrate the Fourth as if nothing is wrong? How dare us in this moment, in this particular place in history, in this setting -- how dare us act as if all is well?"

On Twitter Wednesday, President Donald Trump wrote: "If immigrants are unhappy with the conditions in detention centers.. Just tell them not to come. Our border patrol people are not hospital workers, doctors or nurses...many of these illegal aliens are living far better now than where they came from."

Back at Pullen, Reverend Barber also announced that he has accepted an invitation from a national group of faith leaders to travel to the U.S-Mexico border in Texas in 25 days.

He said they will take "direct action" if they do not see a change in the Trump Administration's immigration policies.