The topic this week is, again, the sudden and traumatic separation of children from their parents at the Mexican border. This feels like a moral emergency. We are not just watching this happen, we have asylum seekers being held locally in Sheridan, Oregon in a men's federal prison.
More than 600 times in May and June, Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel have separated parents from their children using physical force and deceit, according to numerous news reports. Last week, the federal prison in Sheridan, Oregon, near McMinnville contracted with ICE to hold 123 men taken into custody as part of ICE's larger "zero tolerance" policy. Some of these men have been separated from their children.
The Action of the Week is to answer this call from the Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice (IMIrJ) working on the front lines in Sheridan:
"Faith Action: There are three immediate ways that you and your faith community can join with other faith communities in action this week:
Show Up: Monday, June 18th from 5:30-7pm for a large vigil and action at Sheridan. On the heels of Father’s Day, we’ll gather near the prison to call for an end to family separation. Public pressure and community support make a big difference and will help keep this story in the headlines. Carpool information from Portland is available at the link above.
Clergy: are invited to sign a letter by Sunday, the 17th at midnight. The letter will go to the Warden and Chaplain at Sheridan asking for visitation rights for clergy. You can also sign up to be one of the clergy doing the visitation. However, the first step is a letter signed by a LOT of clergy asking that these detainees get visitation rights. Ask all the ministers associated with your congregation to sign the letter.
Pray: In your worship services this week, please take a moment to share about this heartbreaking situation and pray for all immigrants impacted, especially those families separated from one another.
Sample Prayer: God of compassion, hear the cries of mothers, fathers, and children separated from one another. Comfort them in their time of need. May they know they are not alone. God of justice, grant us the courage to hear the cries of mothers, fathers, and children separated from one another. Help us to stand in solidarity, speak out, and boldly act. May we know we are not alone. Together we pray, Amen."
IMIrJ is working hard and could use your donations. Please be generous. They don't have a 'button' on their webpage for donations. They do have partner churches (several UU) and individual memberships here.
In Love and Faith,
Rev. Katie Larsell
Sept 15 -- Oregon Unitarian Universalist Voices for Justice Annual Social Justice Conference. Mark your Calendar