Folks from the congregation have been “showing up” at immigration-related events recently. Here are some reactions, responses and impressions from three such experiences.
The Immigrant Justice Action Team stresses that your “presence” is a ministry of hope and solidarity every time you stand for the fundamental human value that each person has dignity and worth.
For more information about upcoming opportunities to “welcome the stranger” and demonstrate or witness on their behalf, give me a call – Cassie Emanuel 206-384-6111.
One Year in Sanctuary
June 29, organized by Church Council and Gethsemane Lutheran
~ Molly Ebert
Many from the U District Sanctuary Hub congregations joined on Friday, June 28 at Gethsemane Lutheran Church with Church Council of Greater Seattle to mark the one-year anniversary of Jose Robles living in sanctuary. Rabbi Jason Levine of Temple Beth Am, Theresa Crecelius of Muslim Association of Puget Sound, Rev. Diakonda Gurning of Bethel Lutheran Church, Roberta Ray of University Unitarian Church and Michael Ramos of C.C.G.S. inspired as they spoke of “Challenges for the Road Ahead” for refugees and all immigrants searching for safety. They pointed out that the concept of their being strangers is false – they are our friends, families, neighbors and coworkers. We have no reason to fear them and many reasons to welcome them. Roberta Ray taught us an anthem of solidarity in this struggle by Shoshana Jedwab, “Where You Go” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esELRijykp4). By the time we sang the last verse “where you go, I will go Jose,” all eyes were teary.
Jose spoke of how much he appreciated our support during this long year while he was separated from the full life of his family and working in his business Lakewood. We all hope and pray for Jose’s U visa approval and that all immigrants to be welcomed into full participation in our communities.
Stay connected with Jose Robles’ case and the local Sanctuary Movement at www.sanctuarydowntownseattle.com/.
Donations to support the Robles family can be made through Gethsemane’s website. Please designate “Sanctuary”: www.urbanfaith.org/support.
“Close the Camps”
protest organized by MoveOn.org on July 2
~ John Strausz Clement
I had to go to a demonstration today. I’m 85-years-old, and I love my five children and eleven grandchildren. I’m appalled and outraged by how parents and children are being treated by the Trump administration at our southern border. Taking children from their mothers is state supported kidnapping!! “Camps” are not like summer camps; they are prisons where parents and children are incarcerated in over-crowded cells and treated inhumanely without showers, proper food and health care.
I have contributed to the ACLU and organizations aiding immigrants in our country. But today I decided contributions weren’t enough. I had to put my body on the line with others who feel the same way. So, I joined the demonstrators at the Federal Building on 2nd Ave.
~ Kate Nelson
Standing in front of the Federal Building downtown at noon on a drizzly July 2, I joined the MoveOn protest to “Close the Camps” at our southern border. The nuances of the immigration issues are not ones I know well. I’m not sure closing the camps entirely makes sense. But today, the raw disgrace of my country’s actions down there, the hostile chaotic “welcome” we are giving to asylum seekers and immigrants, the complete failure to design a compassionate and transparent Immigration Process made me feel I needed to do something. So, I held a sign and I listened, standing in opposition. I learned that ordinary people like me are standing: witnesses at the border, and at the detention center in Tacoma. Many others are delivering aid to these newcomers, in Tucson, San Diego, El Paso, Nogales, Ciudad Juarez, McAllen Texas. The groups doing this are very overworked and underfunded. Perhaps our church or the Church Council could draw up a list of the names of these groups working at the border, so we could help if we felt called to do so? What is being done in our name down there is heartless and evil.
Some impressions of the naturalization ceremony
July 4 at Seattle Center
~ Liz Gilbert
When friends invited us to come with them to witness the annual citizenship ceremony at Seattle Center on July 4. I immediately accepted with the hope that some of my lost patriotic pride might be restored. I was not prepared for just how moving this event would be. We were privileged to witness some 500 individuals representing over 80 nations take vows of citizenship after undergoing years of intense study, scrutiny, and significant cost. As an announcer read off the names of each represented nation, and the number of new citizens from these countries, I was particularly struck by what it must have cost some to flee their countries of origin, particularly those emigrating from communist nations and/or countries undergoing internal warfare, often based on ethnic differences and terrorist domination. What courage! I was also stunned to notice that at least 25-30 new citizens were wearing uniforms from various branches of U.S. military service. That these folks could sustain their dedication to such extraordinary requirements speaks to the hope they hold for improved lives for themselves and their families. Despite my more recent cynicism, I recognized there is underlying truth to what these folks believe. I intend to witness this ceremony again next year, hoping that the faith held by our new citizens will continue to inspire me to appreciate the privileges I have enjoyed my entire life.