Last year when we witnessed together in Phoenix, we saw the power that comes with accompanying communities in their work toward justice. We were overjoyed to have thousands of Unitarian Universalists vigil with those on the frontlines in Arizona with the hope that Sheriff Arpaio’s tent city jail will someday be shut down.
Now, as many of us prepare to head to another Unitarian Universalist Association General Assembly (GA), I ask that you add your name, along with that of UUA President Rev. Peter Morales, to a letter asking President Obama to suspend deportations as Congress works toward immigration reform.
Since May 1st, people from our network around the country have been participating in a rolling fast to engage faith communities and call on the President to stop the suffering of people being deported today who could be offered citizenship tomorrow.
Since GA last year, we’ve done so much together. We were grateful and honored that many of you were involved with hosting the historic “No Papers No Fear” ride for justice that gave us all a new example of courage. I was happy to see Unitarian Universalist Barbara Moore sit in solidarity with young undocumented people in an act of civil disobedience last week in Los Angeles. And I’m heartened to know that there are UU congregations, and Standing on the Side of Love supporters, everywhere who are working for immigration justice. We know that our partnership is deep, profound, and stronger every day.
We need immigration reform so badly and no one knows that better than the families who go to bed worrying if they’ll be together tomorrow. That’s why it was easy for so many faith leaders to already add their names to this letter and I hope it is for you as well.
Click here to add your name to the petition.
Today, maybe even as you are reading this, representatives from 500 organizations will be delivering their letter to the President and they will point to this faith petition to show that the demand is only growing. Please be part of that groundswell.
I look forward to seeing many of you at GA 2013. Let’s make this another year for justice.
National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON)
PS: Going to the 2013 General Assembly next week in Louisville? Join me and UUA President Rev. Peter Morales in a workshop called “Road from Phoenix: Building on Justice General Assembly” on Thursday, June 20 at 10:45am.
The message above went out on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 to Standing on the Side of Love supporters. You can sign-up for these emails here.More >
As people of faith seeking to support just and compassionate immigration reform, how do we avoid becoming lost in the legal, ethical, and political maze that surrounds this issue? How do we gain the knowledge to confidently witness for respect and inclusion?
The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Marion County, Florida (UUFMC) has found one answer in partnering with a local Latino immigrant community for mutual support and fellowship. The personal relationships we’ve formed there can inform our policy positions. By hearing and seeing and sometimes living the stories of our immigrant neighbors, we’re gaining firsthand knowledge of why they’ve come here and the challenges they face. This is to say nothing of gaining a little empathy.
Many immigrants are struggling through separation from family, geographical isolation, social isolation in a strange culture, problems with schooling for children, problems with day care, problems with medical care, problems with transportation, problems with poverty and employment, and fear of authority figures of all sorts. For some of these problems we can help only a little, but we can learn to listen when we don’t have a language barrier, or just hold hands.
So, when we must come to grips with a very complicated piece of legislation like the 844-page Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act, we will have the great advantage of being grounded in love and reality. We will still not have all the answers, but we will be much better able to rely upon the still, small voice of our instincts telling us what policies make sense.
This post was written by Nelson Hay. Nelson is a member of the Welcoming Congregation Committee and Communication Committee at the UU Fellowship of Marion County, Florida.More >
Why did I participate in the Jericho Walk around the Hart Senate Office Building?
I walked because I was asked. Sometimes that’s all it takes to get our fellow spiritual activists involved; ask them to join you.
I’ve been engaged in a small way in various actions on immigration issues through the Unitarian Universalist Association, UUs for Social Justice in the National Capital Region (UUSJ), Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement (VOICE), and my congregation, Accotink Unitarian Universalist Church in Burke, Virginia. I participated in the action at the Maricopa County Tent City Jail at Justice General Assembly in 2012 and several events on the National Mall, including the April 10, 2013 National Immigration Rally at the Capitol. Partly because of the training and education opportunities provided by UUSJ, Accotink passed a congregational statement of conscience on immigration as a moral issue in April 2011 and received a modicum of press coverage for it. Our delegates are prepared to vote for a UUA statement of conscience on immigration at General Assembly 2013. I’ve worked on a number of immigration related issues with our faith community colleagues in VOICE in several jurisdictions in Northern Virginia.
Our UUA Standing on the Side of Love campaign has provided a gold mine of options for making faith-based expressions of love for all people: yellow shirts support a gay pride parade, and yellow shirts support our immigrant siblings who are looking for a place to raise families.
On May 16, UUs joined with our partners at the New Sanctuary Movement in a Jericho Walk around the Senate office buildings. The instructions for the Jericho Walk were to walk in silence, no signs. Wearing white robes was as attention-getting for a group of ten as a sea of yellow shirts. Going into the Hart Senate Office Building to walk and to visit the Senate Judiciary Committee as they debated the comprehensive immigration bill made our walk more visible to the senators. When we entered the hearing room, the presence of clergy and a faith community group was noticed. On one round of our walk we were greeted by one of Senator Hatch’s staffers as she and the Senator entered the elevator reserved for senators. The appearance of a small group in white robes followed by a larger group of mostly Latina/o allies circling, stopping, praying in the Hart Building atrium didn’t have impact for me until I saw photographs. We filled the atrium and were a visible sign. While I know that getting comprehensive immigration reform passed will take more than just our silent walk, I believe the work that UUs are doing, in conjunction with our partners, will have an impact.
This post was written by Pete Fontneau. Pete is a member of Accotink UU Church in Burke, Virginia.More >
The Unitarian Universalists of San Mateo and the Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto recently joined the Fast and Vigil for Immigration Reform organized on the San Francisco Peninsula by Peninsula Interfaith Action (the local PICO National Network Affiliate) and the Day Workers Center of Mountain View, California.
On May Day, Maria Marroquin, executive director of the Day Worker Center, began a fast that lasted 11 days – one day for each of the 11 million undocumented people currently living in the United States.
Maria spent one night in each of eleven different churches, including our two UU congregations. On May 8, the UU Church of Palo Alto hosted Maria for one night and the next evening she moved to UU San Mateo. During the evening vigil, we sang hymns, played music, prayed, and lit candles.
At UU San Mateo, we challenged our mainly English-speaking congregation to learn hymns from the Spanish version of Singing the Living Tradition. A gong sounded 11 times while we lit candles to honor all who are suffering under our broken immigration system. We were joined by visitors from the First Presbyterian Church of San Mateo who inspired us with their music. Two of us spent the night in the church fasting for 24 hours in solidarity with Maria. The following day, other visitors came to talk with Maria, and together we viewed the PBS production Lost in Detention.
For all who participated, the Fast and Vigil was a profoundly moving experience. Truly we hunger for justice.
People of faith like us are joining fasts with day laborers and immigrant communities across the country. The National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) is looking for people to extend the fast in their cities. Would you and members of your congregation fast for immigrant justice? You can sign up to fast in whatever way works for you. For example, some congregations are choosing a week together with a different person committing to fast each day.
This post was written by Connie Spearing. Connie is the chair of the Immigration Task Force at UU San Mateo.More >
We’re going to be in Louisville for the Unitarian Universalist Association’s 2013 General Assembly. Will you be there too? Join us for a meet and greet with Standing on the Side of Love staff and activists from across the country!
This is your chance to get an insider look at the campaign, provide feedback, share ideas and best practices, and see where we’re headed in the coming months.
We are just starting to plan for the third annual Thirty Days of Love, so this is a great opportunity to help shape the event. Moreover, the immigration reform bill is likely to move to the Senate floor the week of General Assembly and we will have up-to-the-minute information on immigrant justice advocacy as well.
What: Standing on the Side of Love Networking Event
When: Friday, June 21. Drop in anytime between 12:00-1:30pm.
Where: Louisville Marriott Downtown Skybox (Meeting Room 7)
Not going to be in Louisville? No problem–we love to get feedback anytime. We are also collecting photos of people standing on the side of love across the country for a slideshow. You can submit photos and feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join us! Click here to RSVP today.
Standing on the Side of Love
The message above went out on Tuesday, June 4, 2013 to Standing on the Side of Love supporters. You can sign-up for these emails here.More >