On March 30 women from several Unitarian Universalist congregations, including the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Fullerton, actively participated in the UU Women’s Day of Action for Immigration by holding a vigil and 24 hour fast in Brea in front of Congressman Ed Royce’s office. During the vigil, with support from Orange County Congregation Community Organization (OCCCO), the women collected 90 signed letters asking Mr. Royce to use his influence in the House of Representatives for passage of compassionate immigration reform that 1.) values the human rights of immigrants, especially that families not be torn apart, 2.) gives Dreamers (young people, who through no choice of their own, were brought to the U.S.) the chance to pursue higher education and careers, and 3.) to offer a humane pathway to citizenship. Our country was founded on welcoming immigrants and providing opportunity for those leaving adverse situations, a tradition that should be honored.
Vigil activities included oral readings from published immigration research not often presented in mainstream media, music and singing of traditional social justice songs, and engagement of the public in discussion on compassionate immigration reform. Vigil and fast participants included a wide age range of women who are citizens and not People of Color, highlighting that immigration reform is not only an issue for Latinos, Asians, and other groups, but it is an issue that affects us all. The message is that a system that breaks apart families is itself broken, and that the inhospitality and cruelty shown to immigrants today weakens our nation’s soul. People of faith are called upon to stand with the vulnerable and oppressed, and to treat our neighbors as we would like to be treated. Our current immigration system disproportionately affects vulnerable women and children, burdening our foster care system (when parents are deported) and threatens the promising futures of students who have come to the US as children and consider this country to be their home.
At the conclusion of the fast and vigil, the group delivered the signed letters and photographs of the event to the staff in Mr. Royce’s office. Although his official scheduler was contacted many times (by email, phone, and in person) during the month before this event, in order to schedule a meeting with Mr. Royce or his designee for March 31st, no response was received from his office. The time is now to continue to push elected officials for the passage of compassionate immigration reform.
Social Action co-chair
UU Congregation of Fullerton