A few minutes ago, I got arrested on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. I joined more than one hundred other women -- including 20 undocumented women -- as part of the We Belong Together Campaign to bring attention to our nation's horrendously unjust immigration system.
Religious leaders from across the country have been calling on Congress to pass just immigration reform, but few have recognized immigration as a women's issue. Women bear the burden of a failed immigration system, but the struggle of immigrant women often goes unseen. Everyday we are the ones taking care of business: looking after the elderly and our children, working to support our families and contributing to our congregations and communities.
As a woman faith leader, I'm aware how often women go unseen, but I'm proud that my denomination, the United Church of Christ, has always been a leader in women's rights and was the first Christian denomination to ordain women in 1853. Now we are committing to work for immigrant justice through engaging our congregations to advocate and build more inclusive and welcoming communities.
Today we continue our role as leaders in prophetic action through participating together with leaders from the Unitarian Universalist Association, the National Council For Jewish Women and others in a non-violent civil disobedience in solidarity with 20 undocumented women. We decided to risk arrest to tell the House of Representatives at this critical moment to keep immigration at the top of their agenda and pass immigration reform that reunites separated families and creates an inclusive pathway to citizenship for our undocumented community members.
Many of our United Church of Christ pastors and lay leaders serve these families that have been torn apart by detention and deportation. Under the Obama Administration, we have seen more than 1.4 million deportations. Every day, mothers are being ripped away from their citizen children. When deported, some women courageously try re-entering the country to reunite with their family at the risk of abuse and rape in the desert.
The broader faith community continues to escalate our efforts to achieve immigrants' rights. Earlier this week, the United Church of Christ joined the Interfaith Immigration Coalition to begin 40 days of prayer and fasting for immigration reform. Today I am committing to a different type of fast as described in Isaiah 58:6:
"Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?"