UUA Immigration News
May 2012: UUs Step Up to Stop S-Comm; How to Move from Education to Advocacy, Resources & More!
Dear Immigrant Justice Leaders,
UUs continue to be part of a growing movement to oppose the ICE Secure Communities (S-Comm) program of mass detention and deportation. See our report below. Also see our new discussion guides for a video on the Doctrine of Discovery and a theological reflection resource. Read the UU Congregation of Akron Ohio’s Best Practice for engaging their members in immigrant justice, moving from education to advocacy. Register for pre-justice GA gathering. Not Going? Save the date for a National Day of Witness - June 23rd. Lastly, the UUA Bookstore is offering a special promotion -- 5% of purchases go to AZ immigrant rights partners. Read on to learn more!
In faith, Audra, Craig, Dan, Jessica, Kat, Meredith, Schuyler, Susan, and Taquiena
UUA Witness Ministries staff
UUs Step Up to Stop S-Comm: While the federal government is rolling out the misnamed Secure Communities (S-Comm) program of mass detention and mass deportation in Massachusetts and New York today, over the objections of their governors and communities, congregations there and around the country are supporting grassroots movements to protect our communities and neighbors. Read Rev. Lara Hoke’s report from MA. UU's in NY rallied in protest yesterday. The UU Legislative Ministry of CA is holding an Immigrant Justice Advocacy Day on May 21st in Sacramento in support of the TRUST Act that would allow communities to opt-out of the program. You can still register! Be sure to check out The All-In-One Guide to Defeating ICE Hold Requests.
Take Action: Support the Violence Against Women Act! On April 26th, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) passed the Senate with strong bipartisan support. Recently VAWA was reauthorized and amended to include many new and improved provisions for the protection and care of all women, especially immigrants, GBLT people, and Native American women. These improvements, reaffirming the many successful programs of the original VAWA, are vital to the equality of access to services for these marginalized groups. The U.S. House of Representatives is attempting to pass a version of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) that removes the Senate’s new protections for immigrants. Find out more and write to your representative here.
Best Practice: Moving from Education to Advocacy & Solidarity: Unitarian Universalist Church of Akron, OH
Report from Carol Temerson, chair of the Immigration Group, at this 250 member congregation located in Fairlawn, Ohio.
For the last 18 months, we have been learning about and getting involved in immigration issues in northeast Ohio. This journey has led us in some extraordinary directions that I think might be of interest to other congregations. Our congregation has formed an amazing partnership with a local immigrant rights organization (The Immigrant Worker Project of Canton). This partnership has led us to engage in several important actions with local immigrants. We invited the director from the Immigrant Worker Project to an immigration forum we held at our church in 2010. Up to that point we had focused our efforts on "studying" immigration policy but lacked sufficient interest from the church community. After hearing from the director of the IWP, we switched gears from studying the issues to doing something.
Among those actions, the most incredible has been having members of our congregation conducting online research used to defend immigrants in the midst of deportation cases. We have also offered support for religious and cultural celebrations within the local immigrant community and attended a rally for immigration reform at the state capital and a local city council meeting in which a resolution of support for Arizona's SB-1070 was proposed and, thankfully, defeated. Additionally, we have offered our community Conversational Spanish classes so that we may better engage with local immigrant communities. Finally, we are in the process of being trained in how to conduct ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) classes so that we may better help immigrants adjust to life here in the US.
We now have about 8 people doing human rights research on deportation cases, about 20-25 people who support social events, 25 people who took our Spanish classes, 10 people who trained on teaching English as a Second language, 3-4 people who help translate legal documents and 12-15 people who attend our monthly meetings. As for worship services, we have had one. We invited the IWP director to speak during the service along with our minister, and he held a forum afterward. This service helped inspire people to become a part of what we are doing.
New Resources: The UUA is pleased to announce that there are new resources available to help congregations prepare for Justice General Assembly and/or engage with immigration justice work.
- United States Immigration: Theological Reflection and Discussion is a collection of 22 brief excerpts from sermons and writings about the topic of immigration offered for Unitarian Universalist congregations. Each excerpt is followed by questions for discussion. Download a copy of the resource, and or/find out more about it by listening to reflection authors Susan Karlson, Michael Tino and Colin Bossen on The Journey Toward Phoenix, an internet-based radio blog hosted by Rev. Carlton Elliot Smith of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington, VA.
Pre-Justice GA Event: Register Now! Building Beloved Community & Powerful Networks for Justice! Wednesday, June 20th, 1-4 pm. Join leaders from the UU State Advocacy Networks (SAN), Congregation-Based Community Organizations, and UUA staff. We’ll share best practices and strategies for creating partnerships in our communities that are making change at the local, state, and federal level. We’ll also share tools and resources for engaging congregations. An agenda is available. Please RSVP by June 1st to Nancy Banks, SAN Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org. She will send a detailed agenda and room location.
SAVE THE DATE: Not Going to Justice GA? Participate in the National Day of Witness, June 23rd! More details to come soon!
UUA Bookstore Funds for AZ Partners: The UUA Bookstore is offering a special promotion for Justice GA: For every purchase (either online or at the UUA Bookstore at GA) that makes use of the code "PhoenixGA" , we'll make a contribution equal to 5% of your purchase equally divided between Comités de Defensa del Barrio and Puente AZ. If our sales using the code exceed $100,000, we'll double our donation on sales from that date until the end of GA - up to a total donation of $15,000! Watch this short video to learn more about our immigrant rights partners in AZ!
Join the conversation on Cooking Together: Recipes for Immigration Justice Work blog.
See www.uua.org/immigration for resources, congregational stories, policy information and more!