Photo: Church World Service
Last week, I was arrested with more than 130 other advocates outside the White House. This is not the first time I have been arrested in an act of civil disobedience in front of the White House protesting our nation's immoral immigration system -- but I am praying that it is the last time.
While the United Church of Christ is well-known for its advocacy in support of the civil rights and full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer people, we are expanding our focus to the intersectionality of those brave enough to come out the closet, and those willing to step out of the shadows to proclaim "undocumented and unafraid."
As a nation and a world, we have constructed too many false borders. We have created false borders that put limits on the human capacity to love. We have created borders that separate spouses, parents, children and siblings. The deportation machinery of our government continues to wreak unspeakable pain and suffering with 1,100 deportations per day.
Just as the United Church of Christ has been part of advancing the movement for marriage equality and equal rights in the work place for LGBTQ people, we must also be part of the efforts to stop deportations and urge the President to expand deferred action for all.
Arizona is often ground zero on immigration, since the passing of anti-immigrant laws like SB 1070. Our UCC Southwest conference has been on the front lines mobilizing congregations. Daniel Rodriguez, a member of First Congregational UCC of Phoenix was a key leader in helping his congregation vote to become an immigrant welcoming congregation and is a current member of his church's Immigration Taskforce. Daniel is also co-founder of Arizona DREAM Act Coalition, and the Queer Undocumented Immigrant Project. His life as a queer undocumented DREAMer echoes the lives of so many young people throughout the country. I am proud of Daniel's ability to cross the borders of issue advocacy, and understand the importance of intersections in our movement-building for social justice.
As people of faith and as a wider human family, we are called to transcend the issues and the false borders that separate us. I know that today I must again stand beside the thousands upon thousands of faithful witnesses -- documented and undocumented -- who tirelessly call for justice and for a fair, humane and compassionate immigration system.
I believe that there is a core that binds us all inextricably together no matter what border seemingly divides us. Our faith tells us that every person bears the image of God. Our heart tells us that as part of the human family we all share common hopes and dreams: we want the best for our children, the opportunity to live out our God-given gifts and talents to their fullest measure, and the chance to contribute fully to our communities.
As we engage in civil disobedience today, our prayer is that our President acts incredibly soon to stop the deportations and that he acts boldly and broadly to provide relief to all 11 million undocumented community members across our nation. It is well past time for our President to join this movement and the wide majority of Americans who want justice. It is time for our President to do everything in his power to end the insanity of our broken immigration system and stand on the right side of history.