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UU Clergy Join Other Faith Leaders in D.C. to Advocate for the DREAM Act

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Dec 17, 2010

UU clergy show up in support of DREAM

UU clergy show up in support of DREAM

Report by Kat Liu, UUA Witness Ministries Program Associate

On Tuesday, faith leaders came to Washington, D.C. from all over the country and from different theological persuasions in support of the DREAM Act. They joined dozens of DREAM Activists who have been holding vigil in our nation’s capital for the past week. The intent was to support the DREAMers and to lobby key senators in anticipation of what will be a very close vote, which is scheduled for tomorrow – Saturday, December 18.

The Interfaith Immigration coalition, of which the UUA is a member, called specifically for clergy from the states of our target senators. Rev. Fred Small came from First Parish Cambridge UU in Massachusetts to speak to Senator Scott Brown. He was joined at the press conference and prayer vigil by several local UU ministers — Revs. Lyn Cox, Cynthia Snaveley, and Rob Hardies. Given only a couple of days’ notice, more than 100 clergy came to urge the Senate to do what is moral and just – pass the DREAM Act.

The day started with a press conference in the United Methodist Bldg. Nationally known faith leaders such as Jim Wallis of Sojourners, Peg Chemberlin of the National Council of Churches, and Rabbi David Saperstein of the Religious Action Center all spoke powerfully.
UMC Minister Rev. Lorenza Andrade Smith arrested at Nov. 30th sit-in in San Antonio, Texas for the DREAM Act

UMC Minister Rev. Lorenza Andrade Smith arrested at Nov. 30th sit-in in San Antonio, Texas for the DREAM Act

But some of the most stirring testimony came from local clergy from the target states. Rev. Lorenza Andrade Smith, a UMC minister had just come from being arrested outside of Sen. Kay Hutchison’s office.

She shared with us that DREAM Activists in San Antonio have been on a hunger strike for over 30 days and some are in danger of organ failure.

Troy Jackson, an evangelical pastor from Ohio, started by saying that Evangelicals believe that conversion is possible. He then told us the story of Bernard Pastor and how, upon hearing the injustice of Bernard’s situation, person after person had a “conversion” and now favor the DREAM Act.

The press conference ended with Rev. Small leading us in song as we processed out of the chapel and onto the street. Walking hand-in-hand, we circled the senate office buildings. Then, in a park near the senate, the DREAMers huddled together in the bitter cold air while clergy circled around, laying hands on them in blessing, and taking turns leading the group in prayer. Moving one last time, we convened in the atrium of the Hart Senate Building where again clergy formed a circle and took turns in prayer and song.
Rev. Fred Small and Kat Liu Lobby for the DREAM Act with Juana Garcia and Efrain Trujillo

Rev. Fred Small and Kat Liu Lobby for the DREAM Act with Juana Garcia and Efrain Trujillo

After lunch, the “Massachusetts delegation” met in front of Sen. Scott Brown’s office where we had a meeting with the staffer in charge of immigration.

We consisted of Rev. Small, myself and two DREAMers – Juana Garcia and Efrain Trujillo. Juana has been in the U.S. since she was one year old. She sounded like any other American young woman as she told us about her hopes and plans to give back to the country that she loves.

Efrain told us about how his family was forced off the land in his native Mexico by NAFTA and with no means of support had no choice but to come to the U.S. He was seven when he crossed the border.

I wish that I could report more positively about the actual meeting with Sen. Brown’s office. The senator’s staffer made it pretty clear that Brown would be voting No. But that doesn’t mean that our efforts were wasted. Advocacy for the DREAM Act has been going on for a decade now. A week ago, the House of Representatives historically voted in favor. The votes in the Senate are close, closer than it has ever been.

One of the speakers said on Tuesday that the only reason why the DREAM is still alive is because of the DREAMers and faith communities.

The Senate wanted DREAM to go away but we would not let it die.

DREAMers have been camped out on Capitol Hill all week – vulnerable to both the cold and to deportation. So please, let’s do our part by calling our senators and inviting them to be on the correct side of history. If they are already a committed yes, call the senators on the target list.

BREAKING: The Senate will likely vote on DREAM Saturday morning.

Call TODAY and make DREAM a reality.

Take one minute to call your Senator.

Dial 866-996-5161 and ask to be connected.

3 Responses to “UU Clergy Join Other Faith Leaders in D.C. to Advocate for the DREAM Act”

  1. Lee Marie Sanchez says:

    So good to see you there representing us! I met 2 of the DREAMERs when we were protesting SB1070 at the Angels game in Anaheim CA last year. They
    impressed me so much and they were so surprised to learn that I was a UU minister (Candidate) serving a local UU Church as their parish minister and that there was a religious faith like ours! They said when they went home from college that they would seek out the UU churches near their homes. Thank you!

  2. Seth Shannon says:

    You’re trying to support the Dream Act, just because Americans have lost their religious faith. That’s just plain ludicrous. You can’t do that. Also, The Latin Americans already own the entire Southern Hemisphere. As well as, Central America, Cuba, and Puetro Rico. You cannot create a system which requires some countries to accept mass immigration, while others are not being pressured. Also, what about China, Korea, Pakistan, Iran, Columbia, Turkey, and so on ? They’re not being forcibly integrated. Why then should only a few countries accept these terms? Nations such as Germany, U.K., France, Holland, and Sweden are facing policies which force rapid transformation. IT’s NOT fair. Plus, you have no right to influence political decisions.

  3. Lyn Cox says:

    Thank you for inviting us, in body and spirit, to be part of this. Praying with and for the DREAMers was an honor and a powerful experience.

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