Dispatch from the Border: What you Need to Read Now
Across the country, UU congregations and SSL supporters are responding with love as we find ways as a country to address youth from Central America seeking refuge from violence at home. There are many ways you can take action:
Sign up for our Border Trip this October, so that you have a better first-hand experience of what life is like at the Border;
If you plan on responding to anti-immigrant protesters with love, see here for resources; and
Read the important dispatch below from our UU Congregation in Hidalgo, Texas, and share with your networks.
Blessings on all refugee children.
The inherent worth and dignity of every person = protection for refugees.
All religions believe in justice.
Of course, we are our brother’s keeper.
Immigration: it’s the American way.
We are all human.
These are only a few of the messages that were displayed at a recent interfaith vigil in McAllen, Texas in support of Central American refugees who are escaping violence and persecution in their home countries and arriving at the southern border of the United States. An estimated 500 people lined up across the street from a Department of Homeland Security building to support this message of justice on a sweltering Saturday morning. The group included dozens of social justice organizations, faith-based groups, and concerned community members, both from the Rio Grande Valley and from as far away as San Antionio and Corpus Christi. The vigil opened with a blessing lead by women from the Grupo de Danza Tradicional Azteca Xinachtli, who traveled nearly six hours from Del Rio to stand with us; the blessing was followed by messages of hope, compassion, and justice from representatives of local faith communities, from an imam to a priest. A representative of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Hidalgo County read a reflection calling for compassion and responsibility and invited everyone to join in singing our beloved hymn “Circle Round for Freedom.” Both jubilant and somber songs, played by local musicians, soared out across the road. Smiles were infectious.
Organized in only 10 days by the recently formed Human Rights Coalition of South Texas, the vigil demonstrated that the Rio Grande Valley, Texas, and the United States welcome refugees. This is the face of America that we want shown on the news. The impetus for the event was to prevent anti-immigrant protesters at the same location from monopolizing the messages that are being publicized about the issue. As if by divine intervention, only four protesters with “Secure our Borders” signs showed up. To anyone who was driving quickly past or who did not read English, these protestors, with their American flags, would have appeared to be supporting the more powerful message of love. In the event that a bus with children apprehended by Border Patrol passed by, we wanted them to see smiling and welcoming faces—to know that they were safe in the bounty of the United States and that we will do our best to protect them.
This year, thousands of children have been apprehended at the border without their parents; the majority of them are from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. Congress and the American people have been divided as to how to approach and solve this issue. This we know: deportations are not the answer. Please join the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Hidalgo County and the Human Rights Coalition of South Texas in standing on the side of love in responding to the refugees arriving at our border.
With the support of Humanity is Borderless, a campaign in affiliation with the Human Rights Coalition of South Texas, we are calling for a nationwide series of vigils across American cities to stand in solidarity with our refugees and immigrant communities. Supporters in Massachusetts, Illinois, New York, and Texas have already made the first steps to mobilize their communities. To join our movement and show the world the side of America that stands on the right side of history and on the side of love, email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. We must act in unison to help our people.
P.S. Consider going to the Border to learn more for yourself what is happening. Click here for more info and to sign up.
To view the reflection UUFHC shared at the vigil, as well as videos, photos, and news coverage, please click here.