News & Media

For Immediate Release: May 8, 2019

Contact: Gebe Martinez | gebe.gmnetworking@gmail.com | 703-731-9505 or Erin Williams | ewilliams@faithinaction.org  | 202-748-0699

Rev. Dr. William Barber II Equates Maryland Sanctuary Dweller Rosa Gutierrez Lopez’s Struggle for Freedom From Deportation With Civil Rights Struggle of Rosa Parks

Bethesda, MD — Rev. Dr. William Barber II, Co-Chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call For Moral Revival and President and Senior Lecturer of Repairers of the Breach, spoke of the “Empire Evil,” terrorizing immigrants and communities of color, and equated the struggles of Maryland sanctuary dweller Rosa Gutierrez Lopez to that of Rosa Parks, who became an icon of the civil rights movement more than a half century ago.

To view the livestream from today’s event, click here.

Rev. Barber urged those gathered at Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church, where Rosa has lived in sanctuary for almost five months, to call elected officials from City Hall to the White House and seek freedom for Rosa and all immigrants seeking freedom from “illegal deportations.”

“Let us fight to save the country right now. Even though there are some people so mean they don’t even realize they need saving,” Rev. Barber said as Rosa stood at his side. “It is our time. Let us do everything we can so that our children’s children will hear what we’ve done and be honored, and that they too will call the name or ‘Rosa,’ just like they call the name ‘Rosa Parks.’ You are our Rosa in this fight,” he proclaimed.

In his remarks, Barber called the “Empire Evil,” those people who “think that because they have a little human power they have the authority to stand against the moral arc of the universe.” He also noted the people who loudly object to a woman’s right to choose or gay rights or for prayer in schools, but when it comes to welcoming the stranger, he asked, “Where are you now?”

Rosa expressed deep gratitude for Barber’s support. She has been in sanctuary and separated from her three U.S.-born children, including one with Downs Syndrome, who reside in Virginia near their schools and doctors. She, along with support from Cedar Lane and Faith in Action campaign DMV Sanctuary Congregation Network, have advocated consistently on her behalf with interfaith vigils, deliveries of letters of support to Members of Congress, and attempts to deliver a Stay of Removal request to ICE offices in Maryland and Virginia.

Rosa’s supporters will be asking the public tomorrow (Thursday) to call Maryland Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, and Virginia Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, to intercede on her behalf with ICE, and help secure a stay of deportation while her asylum case is considered.


Faith in Action, formerly known as PICO National Network, is the largest grassroots, faith-based organizing network in the United States. The nonpartisan organization works with 1,000 religious congregations in more than 200 cities and towns through its 46 local and state federations. For more information, visit www.faithinaction.org.

Faith in Action is a 501c(3).  Faith in Action and its affiliates are non-partisan and are not aligned explicitly or implicitly with any candidate or party. We do not endorse or support candidates for office.




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