This is What Theology Looks Like
Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, the Baháʼí faith and many others share a central commitment to the sacredness of every person.
Welcome the refugee.
Treat the stranger as your own.
Compassion knows no borders.
Love has no walls.
For more than twenty years, the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity has been joining hands with people of faith to act on these core beliefs. We defend the humanity of the immigrant and fight for the rights of the incarcerated.
Working at the intersection of spirituality and social movements, we mobilize congregations to take a stand on issues of social justice like immigration and mass incarceration, and we engage people of faith to develop their own leadership so they can stand up against racism, discrimination and the political challenges of the day. We bring a faith voice to social movement coalitions, providing a compassionate religious perspective amidst the clamor of angry political actors.
We adopted our current name in 2015, but we grew out of a congregation-based movement for social justice that began in California in the 1990s. Our predecessor organizations were Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice of California, which supported unions, worker centers and low-wage workers, and the Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights.
Today, we are a statewide California organization that connects clergy and people of faith to the work of social justice in Los Angeles County, the San Francisco Bay Area, and the Inland Valleys. We work to make the criminal justice system more just, and the immigration system more fair and humane. In the last two years, we trained 1,500 people of faith to take leadership roles, engaged 140 congregations and partner organizations, and reached more than 35,000 people with a message of hope, love and resilience.
How do we support Immigrants?
We organize people of faith to protect the rights, dignity and well-being of immigrants. We help educate and guide people congregations to become sanctuary congregations who can accompany, shelter, and advocate for people threatened by deportation. We train teams of volunteers to support and accompany people who are in detention or who have to attend frightening immigration hearings or begin their life as newcomers to this country. We host regular prayer vigils at immigration detention centers to make visible the humanity of those detained. And we bring the voices of faith leaders – both lay and professional – immigrant and non-immigrant – to coalition efforts that advocate for fair and compassionate immigration policies. We promote and nurture the leadership of directly impacted immigrants and faith allies to stand up for human rights and the dignity of all people.
What kind of work are we doing around Mass Incarceration?
We engage communities of faith to transform and dismantle the mass criminalization of people of color. Currently, the focus of our work is in Los Angeles, home to the world’s largest jail system. We have created a network of “Beyond Bars” congregations committed to welcoming home formerly incarcerated persons and advocating for criminal justice reform. Our “Justice not Jails” program in Los Angeles works to divest resources from jails to investment in effective alternatives. We also promote greater accountability by law enforcement.
We provide opportunities for people of faith to engage in public life — both those who are directly impacted by racism, poverty, discrimination and criminalization, and those who are allies. We offer trainings, education and opportunities for action for everyday people to develop their leadership ability, and we help engage them in a larger social movement for racial justice and human rights. You are welcome to join us!
About Our Name
Interfaith to us means we are a multi-faith community. IM4HI brings together people from different religious and cultural traditions: Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, Sikhs, Indigenous people, and all people motivated by spiritual values of wholeness, dignity, justice, equity, and peace. This includes people who aren’t officially part of a particular tradition or religious institution, yet share in our values and seek to bring justice into the world. We draw on our diverse religious and cultural traditions recognizing our common humanity and interrelatedness.
The objective of our multi-faith approach is to build a united front to make the changes we desire for the well-being of the most vulnerable and the common good. Multi-faith means each partner preserves and speaks from their unique beliefs and practice. Our unity does not require uniformity or conformity. Multi-faith means we honor the integrity of each other’s spirituality and practice. We don’t try to convert each other. We bring an attitude of respect, inquisitiveness, and learning so as to deepen our own faith understanding.
Multi-faith means we come from different spiritual traditions, but we share a common task: to work for an end to mass incarceration, detention, and deportation and to seek dignity, freedom, and equity for people suffering under the weight of oppressive policies and institutions.
Integrity means wholeness, and it is central to our vision because it points to the importance of respecting the wholeness of every individual, every family, and every community. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote about the importance of human wholeness. “The gospel at its best,” he wrote, “deals with the whole person, not only their soul but their body, not only their spiritual well-being, but their material well being. Any religion that professes to be concerned about the souls of people and is not concerned about the slums that damn them, the economic conditions that strangle them and the social conditions that cripple them is a spiritually moribund religion awaiting burial.”
We adopted our current name (IM4HI) in 2015, but we grew out of two organizations that began in the mid-1990’s: Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice of California (CLUE-CA), which supported unions, worker centers and low-wage workers, and the Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights (ICIR) which advocated for immigrant rights in the state of California.
- Our 2023 End-Of-Year NewsletterRead about IM4HI’s beloved community and this year’s accomplishments in our 2023 End-Of-Year Newsletter! (Download 15-page PDF) As we approach the end of 2023, we reflect on a year filled with growth, collective action, and beloved community at Interfaith Movement for […]
- What School Doesn’t Teach YouWhat School Doesn’t Teach You: Learning About the Immigration System Firsthand by IM4HI Youth Leader Hulissa Aguilar On May 28, 2022 I began my 5-day journey on the The Pilgrimage for a Better Future, a journey to visit each of […]
- Five Years of Sanctuary: Lakeshore’s Congregational Partnership with IM4HIBy Rev. Dr. Allison Tanner, Pastor of Public Witness, Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church. Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church is an inclusive community of followers of Jesus who work to bless and heal our neighborhood. Grounded in a vision of justice, equality, […]
- We Are Movement – IM4HI Song VideoEnjoy this wonderful song written for and about the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity! Images include many of you who have been part of our work in the past few years. Original music and lyrics by Benjasoul with lyrical help […]
- Accompaniment and Solidarity in Hondurasby Professor Amy Argenal Seven years ago, I attended my first pilgrimage to Honduras as part of a group of faith leaders to explore the root causes of migration. I wanted to explore the root causes of migration so I […]