Posts Tagged ‘Rev. Lindi Ramsden’

Keep Weaving the Fabric of Love

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Celebrating the Supreme Court’s ruling on Prop 8. (Credit: Lindi Ramsden)

Last night, across California, we cheered the demise of Proposition 8 and rejoiced in the new federal recognition of married same-sex couples. What a day! I am still gratefully soaking up this new legal landscape.

How did we get here? In 2004, the Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of California began work on marriage equality. California UU clergy went on marriage equality caravans. “Cottage Conversations” created awareness. We helped to pass groundbreaking marriage legislation and delivered 3,800 handmade Valentines to our governor asking him to stand on the side of love. When the movement turned to the courts, we filed a series of amicus briefs lifting up interfaith voices on behalf of religious liberty.

Finally, love and justice won. In May 2008, the California Supreme Court ruled that marriage could no longer be denied to same-sex couples. The weddings began, and same-sex couples gave voice to long-held vows of love and commitment.

Until November… when Proposition 8 passed, and the door was closed.

I know that LGBTQ people are far from the only minority who has been deprived of rights due to the fear of the majority. It was still hard to witness. Dueling lawn signs and arguments over the legitimacy of someone’s family damage us all.

We were in the thick of it. Our UULM Action Network had been asked to manage the interfaith part of the “No on 8″ campaign. From pastoral care for vulnerable families to clergy witness and relentless phone banks, we were put to the test. As people of faith, we refused to demonize those who opposed us.

While we lost the Prop 8 vote, we “lost forward.” We built important capacity for change. Others learned from our loss. State by state, the tide has now turned, creating the conditions for justice. We are so grateful.

Change is incremental. It comes in conversations and court decisions. It comes from young people raised without fear and the bravery of elders. And, it comes by refusing to live in silos – by standing with immigrants, by working for voting rights, by knowing that we are all family.

The Supreme Court rulings on DOMA and Prop 8 provide a huge burst of hope and momentum. Let’s use it. This week, the LGBTQ supportive community is needed to advance compassionate immigration reform so that all families can be safe.

Justice is a shared garment. Let’s keep weaving the fabric of love.

In faith,

Rev. Lindi Ramsden
Senior Minister & Executive Director
UU Legislative Ministry of California


The message above went out on Thursday, June 27, 2013 to Standing on the Side of Love supporters. You can sign-up for these emails here.

Restore Trust & Break ICE’s Hold on Our Communities

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Late Sunday night, Governor Jerry Brown vetoed the California TRUST Act, a bill that would have reestablished the trust needed for community policing by prohibiting local law enforcement from holding undocumented immigrants on Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers, unless the detainee was charged or convicted of a serious felony.

We at the Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry Action Network, CA are deeply disappointed in his decision. His veto puts many hardworking immigrant families at continued risk of being split by deportations, and continues to erode the trust between the immigrant community and law enforcement, compromising our community safety.

We are not giving up. Together, we can create change in California and across the country. Please join the movement to restore trust and break ICE’s hold on our communities. Click here to get involved.

While we were not able to get the Governor to sign the TRUST Act, let us not forget what we have accomplished—that the conversation has changed. The unjust “Secure Communities” program has been exposed by media throughout the nation, reaching many people who previously had no idea that the “tamale lady,” the victim of domestic violence, and the worker whose boss refused to pay him are among the 80,000 deportations in California under S-Comm.

Moreover, the fact that Governor Brown waited until the final hours of the very last day to veto the bill, demonstrates that this was not an easy decision. His eyes are being opened to the issue. In the statement the Governor issued explaining the veto, he confirms that the current Secure Communities program is unjust and offers his personal commitment to work swiftly with the legislature to fix what he identifies as the flaws in this bill.

Undocumented and mixed-status families are part of our congregations and communities. This is an especially important time to hold these families in our thoughts and prayers as well as all of the advocates who have worked so hard for justice. It is profoundly hurtful and disorienting to have your family’s safety and integrity continue to be the subject of intense political debate and public vitriol.

Change is still happening. Click here to join the “Restoring Trust: Breaking ICE’s Hold on our Communities” movement today.

It is a privilege to be a part of this movement on behalf of immigrant justice and to witness social justice advocates across the country become better informed and more engaged allies and advocates.

We are making the path by walking it.

May Love be our guide.

RevLRamsdenweb

Rev. Lindi Ramsden
Senior Minister and Executive Director
UU Legislative Ministry and Action Network, CA


The message above went out on Friday, October 5, 2012 to Standing on the Side of Love supporters. You can sign-up for these emails here.

Immigrant Justice Day 2012: One California

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Update June 8th: The Trust Act will be heard in the Senate Public Safety committee on Tuesday, June 12th.

OneCaliforniaOn May 21st, Unitarian Universalists joined immigrants, advocates, community members, and policy makers in raising our voices on behalf of all of California’s immigrant families at the State Capitol in Sacramento. The UU Legislative Ministry of CA (UULM CA) collaborated with the CA Immigrant Policy Center and many other immigrant justice groups for this day of education, witness and advocacy.

We were there to support  AB1801 (Ammiano), the TRUST Act—a bill to restore trust and accountability to California’s participation in the Secure Communities (S-Comm) program, respecting the wish of local communities to opt-out of the program and implement safeguards to guard against racial profiling. [See Restoring Trust: Congregational Grassroots Resources for Breaking ICE’s Hold on our Communities to learn about the local opt-out movement.]

ssl-banner-sacramentoWhile UUs across CA are organizing to come to Justice GA in Arizona, we also know there is very important work to be done in California.  The UU Legislative Ministry has formed a statewide Immigrant Justice Team with UU lawyers, immigration advocates, clergy and lay leaders who are working to build a network for long term, effective engagement of California UUs in immigrant justice with the first priority being the protection immigrant families and restoring trust in law enforcement by resisting the S-Comm (Secure Communities) program.

People came in vans and buses and drove in from across the state, including from Los Angeles, San Diego, Visalia, Fresno, San Jose, Oakland and San Francisco.  Two dozen UU clergy and lay leaders participated, wearing our  ‘Love’ and UULM CA shirts, and carrying our Standing on the Side of Love banner, ,joining a group of 400 allies.

Attorney Daniel Stracka, Executive Director of UURISE (UU Refugee and Immigrant Services & Education) and the UULMCA Immigrant Justice Team Co-Convener, was among those who traveled all the way from San Diego County.  A team from Mt. Diablo UU Church in Walnut Creek rode up on the train, and UUs from conservative Merced to progressive Berkeley joined immigrants from across the state.

UULM CA helped to lead and anchor the interfaith prayer and procession that began the day, joining the Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights, and Franciscan, and Jewish leaders.  Following the prayer for the people, we marched from the steps of the Cathedral to the steps of the Capitol, accompanied by the drums of Rev. Wendy Bartel, co-minister at the Sierra Foothills UU Church, and lifting our voices in song –  “Soon and very soon.. we are going to change the world… For all families, we are going to change the world…”  (See words to the entire song  below.)

ammiano-sacramentoWe rallied at the Capitol where Assembly member Tom Ammiano, author of the TRUST Act,  said, “We  have many people in California who contribute to the economy, to family life, to religion. Deported, incarcerated, denied income and split from their families, this is not democracy.”

UUs were assigned to teams to visit their legislators with members of the other immigrant justice groups from their area. We were particularly proud to join in the visit to Assembly member Bill Monning, a UU from Monterey County, and co-author of AB1081, who, as a long time advocate for farm worker justice, was able to dialogue fluently in both Spanish and English with the constituents visiting his office.

sacramento3Amy Moses-Lagos, Immigrant Justice Steering Committee member for UULM CA (and former immigration legal aid) and ministerial intern at Mt. Diablo UU Church said, “We were very impressed that Assembly member Joan Buchanan met with us herself . She really took the time to listen to our concerns and seemed supportive of the goals of the TRUST Act.  The meeting helped us see what a difference we can really make on this issue. One of our members had a conversation with Victor from Street Level and was touched by a comment he made.  He said (paraphrasing), ‘In El Salvador, I never would never have considered doing something like this.  Now I have realized that we can come together, speak up and improve things for ourselves.’  We were very impressed that the lobbying group was so diverse and included many immigrants.”

To help participants prepare for advocacy visits on Immigrant Justice Day, UULM CA held a webinar led by Angela Chan from the Asian Law Caucus.

In addition to Immigrant Justice Day, UULM CA is starting to organize at the county level.  We had our first meeting on May 19th of UUs interested in helping LA County follow the lead of Santa Clara County to stop collaboration with S-Comm.  We also had folks out in the strawberry fields in Watsonville that same weekend learning from farm workers and experts on globalization and the broken immigration system.

Through our advocacy we are creating new partnerships and relationships and helping to build The Beloved Community.

Lyrics to the song we sang at the Interfaith Prayer and Procession

1.  Soon and very soon, we are going to change the world (x 3)
Together, together, we will change the world.

2.  No more crying here, we are going to change the world (x 3)
Together, together, we will change the world.

3. For all families, we are going to change the world (x 3)
Together, together, we will change the world.

4.  Come and walk with me, we are going to change the world (x 3)
Together, together, we will change the world.

5.  Prayer and advocacy, we are going to change the world (x 3)
Together, together, we will change the world.

RevLRamsdenweb

Rev. Lindi Ramsden is Executive Director of the UU Legislative Ministry of California.