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Fast and Vigil for Immigration Reform

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Jun 05, 2013
Maria, Caryl, and Connie pose with UU San Mateo's welcome sign during their fast and vigil for immigrant rights.

Maria Marroquin, Day Worker Center Executive Director; Caryl Hughan, UU San Mateo Social Justice Council Chair; and Connie Spearing, UU San Mateo Immigration Task Force Chair.

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.

Group gathers around altar with candles.

Our altar at the vigil with Maria in the center.

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.

Click here to learn more and support fasts already in progress. To join a fast or begin one in your city, contact Omar Henriquez (oah@ndlon.org) and Susan Leslie (sleslie@uua.org).

This post was written by Connie Spearing. Connie is the chair of the Immigration Task Force at UU San Mateo.

One Response to “Fast and Vigil for Immigration Reform”

  1. Laurrie Bullock says:

    I am glad to see that we are gathering together with other faith traditions to make changes in our society for the better.

    As chair of the Social Action Committee in our UU Congregation I will spread the word and see if we can join in the fasting.

    Thank you for all you are doing,

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