|From a 2004 art installation by Mariana Viturro and Angelique-Marie
Gonzales, commemorating the at least 3000 people who have died or been
killed trying to cross the US-Mexico border since operation Gatekeeper
began in 1994. |
[Creative Commons, Hossam el-Hamalawy]
Today I’m flying to Washington DC to urge Congress to pass immigration reform. Naturally.
To be honest, I’m feeling a little nervous about it. And overwhelmed with so many thoughts. Excitement of seeing the Church stand together on this issue. The “bigness” of what it will mean if reform is passed. Fear of disppointment if it is delayed yet again.
When I was invited to DC, I think I envisioned myself being one of a crowd, showing support by helping to create a mass. And that will be part of it.
But then the email asking for my press release arrived and I was like, “What am I doing exactly?” They asked why I am going to DC and why Congress needs to pass reform now.
My reasons are so deeply personal and yet wildly collective, and I’m having trouble putting them into words. I gave a brief statement, but I’ve been reflecting on that question more.
I’m going to DC because I hate the fact that my in-laws have not had the opportunity to meet Isaac. We are heading to Guatemala next week, but they have been repeatedly denied visas to visit us here in the States. They were not allowed to come for our wedding or the births of our two kids.
I’m going to DC because I’ve witnessed workers being exploited by bosses who know they have no recourse. I’ve seen employers become so used to this power they behave in ways that deny their own humanity as well.
I’m going to DC because I’ve listened to stories of separation, abuse and terror. Families who sought a better life have experienced tragedy in ways never expected.
We can do better.
We can love our neighbors better. Maybe… you know… as we love ourselves.
I’m going to DC because the Bible tells me so. My faith has taught me to stand with the hurting and oppressed. My faith has said God cares for children (and adults), regardless of country of origin. My faith invites me to welcome the stranger.
So I’m going to DC. And why is now the time to pass reform?
Because we’ve waited too long already. Because elections are coming, and everyone will ignore this issue again in an effort to avoid controversy. Because this isn’t a political pawn to be moved and manipulated in ways that best serve politicians.
Immigration is about families, about churches and about communities that live and breath and are suffering in this unjust system.
The time for change is now.
I would like to ask for your help. You can read the Statement of Principles for Evangelicals on this issue. And here are some ways you can engage, especially today and tomorrow:
PrayI know. Christians always say this, but for real. Pray against principalities that seek to maintain oppression and destroy families. Pray for the 500 evangelical leaders descending on Washington. Pray for our meetings with Congress. Pray for reform.
Social Media It UpThere’s this cool tool called Thunderclap that you can join. It will save a post for you and send everyone’s out at the same time, making waves on Twitter and Facebook. You can join in here. Also, if you’re a tweeter, hashtag #Pray4Reform and help create buzz!
Show Congress Your SupportI’m always super intimidated when people ask me to talk to my Congress peeps. (So apparently I’ve decided to go meet them first before I start emailing…) But seriously, all the work is done for you here. You just read the draft email and edit if you want. Put your name and state and it gets emailed to your reps for you. Totally easy… we can do this!
You all have been so supportive as you’ve read our family’s stories over the years. I'd love to hear that you're taking these steps (or others) in the comments. Thanks for standing with us as we seek to make changes for other families. Seriously. Thank you.
If you want to read a follow-up from the trip, click here.
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