I arrived back from vacation last Wednesday. Usually this time of year is slower – a natural
time to step away. But this last week
hasn’t been slow – due mainly to our congregation being in the thick of
immigrant justice work these days.
Last Wednesday we hosted the monthly Interfaith Justice
Table breakfast, attended by clergy and non-profit leaders. Edith had some time to update people on the
large fine issued against her from ICE. Her
attorney is looking for ways to issue a legal challenge to the excessive fine,
received by about 10 women in sanctuary.
On Thursday CMC hosted an event organized by our neighbors
North Broadway United Methodist Church.
They brought in Ravi Ragbir of the New York New Sanctuary Coalition. He led a training on accompanying people to
ICE check ins and immigration court. One
of the more memorable things he shared was that the most powerful people in
this movement by way of moral persuasion are elderly white women of faith. People laughed, but he was serious. During the same event, CMCer Joe Mas spoke on
a panel and soberly commented that he fears we are reaching the end of what the
legal system can do to protect families facing separation through
deportation. It’s up to the people.
On Friday we accepted an interview from WORLD magazine. For those not familiar, WORLD reports news through
the lens of conservative evangelicalism.
But, upon a bit of research, they have been sympathetic toward the
plight of migrants in the US, and wanted to tell Edith’s story, released as a
podcast sometime in the next couple weeks.
So, we talked with them.
On Sunday afternoon there was a press
conference at Just North Church on Henderson Rd (I mistakenly announced
Bethel Rd during worship). That
congregation is welcoming a Honduran asylum family to live in their building
for the next number of months before they get set up with work permits. The
Dispatch told their harrowing story of escaping gang violence and traveling
to the US, entering through a legal port of entry. One of the purposes of the press conference
was to again attempt to humanize what need not be a polarizing issue. And show that this is not just a border
On Tuesday, last evening, Edith’s support team met and,
among other things, affirmed the emphasis on collecting letters of support to be used to accompany some upcoming
applications in Edith’s legal case. This
is something everyone can do! As
mentioned in previous announcement this week, such a letter has this outline:
Whom it may concern:
of the letter describing your experience of Edith’s upstanding character and
the importance of her remaining in the US]
[Full Name Printed]
CMC is also actively supporting two other families who have
come to the US seeking safety. Leaders
of those efforts make needs known from time to time.
It’s a time in our country when even the smallest gesture of
kindness toward those being demonized as outsiders shines a light and points toward
a better way.
God be with us all.