Florida Needs Compassionate Immigration Reform!
For the past week, Unitarian Universalist congregations across Florida, UU Justice Florida, and interfaith and immigrants partners have brought their immigration reform advocacy to the next level to take advantage of Congress’s annual August Recess, when members of Congress return home to work from their local offices. Standing on the Side of Love Campaign Manager Jennifer Toth has been visiting and organizing with them and documenting what a difference it makes when people get involved in hands-on advocacy in their communities.
In half a dozen cities from Orlando to Miami, delegations of UUs representing twelve congregations gathered for briefings on immigration reform and grassroots organizing filled with lots of learning and dialogue. Then, they put what they learned into practice by meeting with their House representatives’ staff along with local interfaith and community partners. Delegations shared personal stories about how deportations have torn families apart, why reform is needed now, and also prayed with congressional staff and offered the faith and moral perspective.
These meetings are making a big difference in how representatives and their staff view the immigration debate. In the Orlando area, Republican Rep. Daniel Webster came out in favor of immigration reform just days before the meeting and the UU delegation was able to thank his staff directly for taking such a bold stance. At Republican Rep. Bill Young’s office, staff shared that they are not experts on immigration and thanked members of the Clearwater UU Congregation for helping them learn more about the issues at hand. Groups also met with the offices of Representatives Mica, Buchanan, Rooney, Ros-Lehtinen, and Diaz-Balart.
Not only are these dedicated UUs ensuring that their elective officials know that they care about compassionate immigration reform, they are also building and strengthening partnerships with interfaith and immigrant partners groups in their communities. These relationships can help shape social justice work for years to come!
Can you do the same in your hometown? Visit our immigration reform resource page for resources to help you plan your own briefing and advocacy visits to your House representatives.
Want to see more from the great immigration organizing in Florida and across the country? Click here to check out our photo album!
Special thanks to all of the interfaith and community partner organizations who have joined these meetings (including the Interfaith Immigration Coalition, Church World Service, Interfaith Worker Justice, the National Council of Jewish Women, Immigration Equality, Unidos Now, CIR Now, Organizing for Action (OFA), and the Florida Immigrant Coalition) as well as clergy advocates (including Revs. Brock Leach, Amy Kindred, Mike Young, Kathy Schmitz, and Wendy Pantoja) and Kindra Muntz, UU Justice Florida Board President, for making this amazing outpouring of support possible.