“The separation of families is taking place both at the border and in our communities in California,” said Reverend Deborah Lee, Executive Director of Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity. “Refugees who came to this country seeking peace are being torn from their families by an immigration system that refuses to recognize their humanity. California should take action now to stop the deportations through pardoning these refugees.”
Ambassadors are a team of immigrant community members who speak in congregations to shape and humanize the immigrant narrative through storytelling. Ambassadors share their social biography, a political framework that situates one’s story in a social context. Social biographies position ambassadors as protagonists in their own story while educating and activating faith communities to take a next step in transformative justice in our immigration and criminal legal systems.
Sanctuary Dialogues: Migrant Voices in the Pulpit/Bimah/Minbar/Sangha
Sanctuary Dialogues: Migrant Voices in the Pulpit/Bimah/Minbar/Sangha, positions ambassadors [see above] to share their stories in congregations whether it is at the pulpit (churches), bimah (synagogues), minbar (mosques), or sanghas (temples). As a commitment to uphold the dignity and sanctity of every human person, ambassadors speak to congregations’ faith values that broaden and humanize the immigrant experience. In light of Sanctuary Movement by people of faith, this program is an important and enriching opportunity for congregations to hear from those directly impacted by today’s immigration policies, become involved in immigrant justice as faith communities, and to affirm the power of migrant voices in our city and within our congregations.
To broaden and humanize the narrative around immigrants, especially those most vulnerable and/or targeted for deportation – immigrants with former convictions, LGBTQIA+ immigrants, Black, and/or Muslim immigrants
To support congregations taking a next step in solidarity with immigrant communities
To support congregations in their discernment toward becoming a sanctuary congregation
For congregations with majority immigrant members, to connect members to resources, organizations and communities with immigration services, and to develop resources to engage members’ migration stories as they take a next step in solidarity with other immigrant communities today
Rev. Deborah Lee, director of the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity, and the central organizer of the vigils, said the faith groups involved had to examine their conscience. “The transfer of many detainees instead of their release was hard to swallow at first, and many families felt helpless,” she said. “We asked ourselves if we were responsible for their transfer, as ICE accused us. But the families reminded us that ICE moves detainees all the time, and often they don’t know where their own family members are.”