DREAM Sabbath at Unity Temple UU Congregation in Oak Park, IL
by Shirley Lundin, Co-Coordinator of the Immigration Action Team of the Unity Temple Unitarian Universalist Congregation Social Mission Committee
The Immigration Task Force of Unity Temple Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Oak Park, IL, with full support and encouragement from Rev. Alan Taylor, presented two worship services on Sunday October 9, 2011, sharing impressions and activities relating to immigration justice. Each of four task force members briefly shared personal reasons for responding to the plight of undocumented people in our country.
Juan Ramirez, now twenty-five years old and of Mexican origin, was brought to the U.S. when he was a toddler. He went to school here, and earned his Bachelor’s degree from a Southern university, before being arrested by ICE officers on a bus headed for Rochester, NY, for not having proper documentation.
He described his treatment at the hands of Homeland Security: being jump-suited and locked up with no legal recourse, with bail set at $5,000. When his family struggled to make bail, he was released. He knew he would have just a few months before he wold be deported to Mexico, a country he has never known. With the help of Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, Juan was given one more year to become “legal.” Juan’s story was an elegant reminder of the plight of law abiding but undocumented people in this country. Rev. Taylor spoke about the upcoming Phoenix General Assembly, as well as UUA President Peter Morales’ arrest in Phoenix last July for civil disobedience.
The service begins a year of planned immigration actions for the congregation, including offering the UUA curriculum, “Immigration as a Moral Issue,” participating in vigils at the Dept. of Homeland Security building in Chicago’s loop, and more, culminating with a congregational vote to become an “Immigrant Welcoming Congregation.”
Editor’s Note: Congregations can still participate as the DREAM Sabbath has been extended through the end of October. Include a reading in your worship service, sponsor an event with a DREAMER, or host a table in social hour with information. See our webpage for resources.