This past week I was one of 112 faith leaders and immigrant activists arrested at the White House protesting the President’s deportation policies. Many have asked me why I allowed myself to be arrested and why I stand on the side of love on this divisive issue.
I could answer that I advocate for immigration reform because of my Cuban-American husband’s experience as a refugee. Or I could answer the question by telling the story of observing abject poverty in Honduras when as a teenager I served as a volunteer for Amigos de las Americas vaccinating children against TB. These would be partial answers. The full answer to the question of why I will no longer remain silent while President Obama deports 1,100 aspiring Americans daily is because my faith calls me to prophetic witness. My faith requires that I stand up and act when injustice creates a humanitarian crisis.
The sponsors of last week’s action which resulted in our arrest for blocking passage on the sidewalk outside the White House included the United Methodist Church, Church World Service, CASA de Maryland, CASA de Virginia, Bend the Arc, the Unitarian Universalist Association, the United Church of Christ, Sisters of Mercy, Disciples Home Missions of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the PICO National Network, the National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, Wind of the Spirit, and the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach.
As a Unitarian Universalist minister I am heartened to know that I do not stand alone when I urge our nation to embrace love rather than fear and to give relief to the 11 million migrants living in this country and the children fleeing from violence in their own countries. Keep families together. Stop the deportations, stop this injustice now.