Friday, July 3, 2009

Familias Unidas Reflection

The following is a reflection on the Familias Unidas Event on Saturday, June 13th, 2009 from Terri, a member of the Interfaith Immigration Rights Coalition of Northern Colorado.

I arrived about 45 minutes early feeling certain I would have many choices in seating. However, I was grateful to procure one of the last chairs near the back. For the next hour people kept pouring in, young and old, Hispanic, Anglo, African American and others who I'm sure I didn't see. Just being in the presence of so many on a pleasant Saturday afternoon coming together out of concern for our current immigration situation caused tears to well up in my eyes from time to time.

Speakers included young children tearfully telling their stories, older children, religious leaders, politicians and those who work with immigrants.

One of the most heart rending stories what that of a young boy around the age of 10 or 11 courageously telling his experience of finally getting to see his parents in immigration detention. And then he said, in between sobs, "I wonder if I will ever be with them again." Other stories by older children told of families being torn apart. They shared their hope and dreams to go to college and succeed but fear they will never be able to because they are not documented. They expressed great sadness for themselves and others like them. Professionals who work with immigrants shared similar stories and expressed regret that they were unable to do more to help.

The religious leaders who spoke included Rabbi Firestone of Boulder, Imam Ali who is of Islam, Rev. Andrew Simpson, Episcopalian, Archbishop Chaput and Rev. Ames. Each shared from their own tradition. The traditions are more alike than different. The theme that is threaded through all is that we must reach out to the stranger in our land and are required to care for those in need with kindness and compassion.

Both Representative Gutierrez of Illinois and Representative Polis spoke powerfully and convincingly of the need for change in our immigration system. They, too, spoke with compassion and care for the immigrant.

Frequently many rose from their seats applauding a speaker and chanting "si se puede" and "yes we can" sometimes in Spanish, and sometimes in English.

I went away feeling the positive power that was present there, knowing the momentum is building and in my heart echoing the words si se puede, yes we can. We are not alone in our efforts to stand by our immigrant brothers and sisters. Let us continue to pray and work together so that one day all immigrants are given the rights they deserve, are treated with compassion and are valued for who they are and what they contribute to society.
We encourage others who were present at United Families to share your experience.


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