UUA Immigration News
September 2012: Take Love to the Polls! Support Immigrant Rights--Stop Voter Suppression
Van Jones and his Rebuild the Dream team have joined up with VotoLatino to register Latinos and others who have been disproportionately hit hardest by foreclosures and also face voter suppression. Today, there are nearly 18 million Americans who have suffered through a foreclosure and need to re-register at a new, permanent address in order to vote in November. The states hit hardest by foreclosures have some of the highest Latino populations in the U.S. People of faith are speaking out and taking action with these partners and others.
One of the things we committed to at Justice GA was reaching out to immigrant rights and justice partners in our communities to help mobilize and register voters. Online now is our Taking Love to the Polls: Elections 2012 webinar with information on speaking out, registering new voters, get-out-the-vote efforts, and voter suppression. There’s still time to get involved!
Whether you were at Justice General Assembly or not, there are many opportunities for you and your congregation to engage in immigrant justice in the coming months.
This month’s Immigration News includes resources and organizing campaigns for witness, action, and partnership in your communities. See below!
1) Taking Justice GA Home – Next Steps for Immigration Justice: At Justice GA, UUs organized by regions and received state briefings on legislation and organizing campaigns that will affect our communities. The presentations and materials are online – learn about opportunities to be in solidarity and build beloved community with our Taking Justice GA Home – Next Steps for Immigration Justice materials.
2) Road from Phoenix: One of our main partners at Justice GA, the National Day Labor Organizing Network (NDLON) is interested in continuing our efforts together and participating in cluster, district, and regional meetings with UU congregations. If you are planning an event and would like to bring in a speaker/organizer from NDLON or one of their affiliates, please contact Susan Leslie, UUA Congregational Advocacy & Witness Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.
3) Restoring Trust—Resisting ICE Secure Communities Program. Restoring Trust is an Interfaith Immigration Coalition and NDLON campaign whose purpose is to stop the Immigration and Custom Enforcement Secure Communities program of mass deportation. Our strategy is to strengthen, amplify and coordinate local grassroots campaigns across the country. Secure Communities is being resisted at the community, county, and state level. Learn more online to protect thousands of immigrant families, uphold constitutional due process protections, and restore public trust between local police and the immigrant community.
Note: As we write we are waiting to hear if Governor Jerry Brown of California will sign into law the Trust Act that will allow California communities to opt out of the S-Comm program. Thanks to the UU Legislative Ministry of CA for their great organizing in partnership with NDLON, PICO, and others. The Governor has until Sept. 30th to enact this law.
4) Breaking the Isolation of Immigration Detention: Starting a Visitation Program. View our webinar with Grassroots Leadership and the National Visitation Network. Participants learned why and how to start a visitation program with information from other successful visitation programs that have resulted in hundreds of visits to detained immigrants and asylum seekers in the past year. View our Webinar - Breaking the Isolation of Immigration Detention: Starting a Visitation Program.
5) The UndocuBus ‘No Papers No Fear’ Tour sponsored by NDLON ended at the Democratic National Convention, and Annette Marquis, District Executive for the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Southeast District was there to join them. Annette is the author of a new eBook called Resistance: A Memoir of Civil Disobedience in Maricopa County. Read her reflections on meeting some of the riders and the intersection of immigrant and LGBTQ identities. Thanks to the UUs who supported these courageous riders! Learn more about the UndocuBus Ride for Justice online.
6) Journey to the Border - UUA/UUSC College of Social Justice is offering service-learning trips to the southwest United States and the borderlands of Mexico to learn firsthand about the complex struggles of the immigrant community. This journey will help you engage your congregation in immigration justice in your own community. Trips will be in February and May 2013. View the brochure (PDF). Please visit our website for details on these and other UUCSJ programs — and register for a trip today.
7) Remember to view our Taking Love to the Polls: Elections 2012 webinar. Hopefully it will inspire you to make a video for the to Help U.S. Voters Stand on the Side of Love Video Contest! (1st prize is $1,000.)
Best Practice: Jan Meslin, an immigrant justice leader in our Tapestry UU in Mission Viejo, CA congregation and member of the UU Legislative Ministry of CA Immigration Task Force writes to us:
"Thank you for all the great resources! Good webinar! You are always good! And it was so easy to connect. Here in Orange County we are reaching out to Hispanic voters through our PICO affiliate (congregation-based community organization). We have voter lists in the three biggest Hispanic cities in Orange County. We’ve got lots of volunteers to make three contacts with these voters: 2 phone calls and 1 door visit. We are talking about the importance of a couple of propositions to our faith and community values. We are also going to Hispanic areas to register especially young voters, many who recently finished high school.
I also wanted to give you an update on our detention visitation program. Seven UUs did our first visits last weekend to detainees in Orange County. It was an amazing experience for all of us. The first impact was having to give up everything but our driver’s licenses, walk into the jail, and all that went with that. Then we visited four women (in pairs) who had been referred to us through attorneys. By the end of a half hour, we knew about each other’s lives (mostly theirs) and all of us (especially detainees) appreciated what was happening. They just wanted to talk and share their stories. Amazing. We’ve got a debrief meeting tonight. I know this will grow. Three in our group will concentrate on the LGBT detainees who are in a different jail, especially transgender individuals. Next step besides continuing our visits with our friends and getting more volunteers is a tour of the facility on September 27. That was not easy to set up with ICE as you can imagine but it is required in their guidelines. I’ve heard from a couple of people in UU congregations who were in on the visitation webinar. They both want to start programs and we’re staying in touch.” You can contact Jan at email@example.com for assistance in setting up a detention visitation program.
As always, we would love to hear about your congregation’s engagement in immigrant justice ministry; drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In faith, Audra, Craig, Jessica, Kat, Meredith, Susan, and Taquiena
UUA Witness Ministries staff
See www.uua.org/immigration for resources, congregational stories, policy information and more!