Yesterday a good friend told me "Calmase, Pat" - Be calm and don't make bad decisions. I received a newsletter this weekend from the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity in San Francisco. Rev. Deb Lee is a friend and member of the United Church of Christ Collaborative on Immigration Justice. Her words capture for me a way to respond to the tumultuous decision made by many Americans last week to elect a man as President who wants to build walls and exclude people. If you feel differently, as do I - hopefully these words will speak to you.
This week’s election results have understandably stirred up a tremendous amount of fear. That is real. Understandable. We feel it too.
Although faith teachings of many religious traditions- encourage us to “Fear Not,” that faith, love and understanding are stronger than fear, we know that is not an easy thing. There is a real uncertainty among all of us of what will happen under the Trump presidency. His proposed immigration policies do not bode well for undocumented immigrants, Muslims, those with DACA, and refugees. The proposed policies emphasizing a wall and greater enforcement will do nothing to address the root causes of migration and only result in more deaths of those fleeing violence and desperation.
Much is uncertain, but one thing we can be certain of, is that Solidarity is stronger than fear. Solidarity gives us courage when we are afraid. Solidarity is our protection. The fear may still be there, standing with each other in unity, makes us stronger and more brave to confront the challenge ahead. Our best defense is an organized community committed to each other and bound together with all those at risk.
So let us stand together in solidarity, whether it is undocumented immigrants, Muslims, refugees, African Americans, LGBTQ people, Jews, and other minorities at risk.
The state of California’s legislature has issued a letter expressing their commitment to defend the California’s history as a refuge of justice and opportunity. We must ensure that sanctuary city policies are upheld so that our tradition of fair treatment and due process for all people continue. We ask faith communities to consider declaring themselves “Sanctuary” Congregations or “Immigrant welcoming congregations.” We must all know our rights in a likely period of greater immigration law enforcement. Our concrete and proactive acts of solidarity are needed now more than ever. "
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My life has been about crossing borders and cultures and building bridges across the boundaries that normally divide. Have you crossed any borders in your life?