WMJM Justice Seeker: DACA Response - Special Issue
- Category: Newsletters
From the Front Lines
The last few days have been unrelenting in not only the heat, but the rising anxiety levels as the news spins conjectures on potential decisions/non-decisions about DACA.
Fortunately our presence at 580 [Cafe] has provided a safe haven for many of our students and their families. I have spent most of the last three days meeting, praying, and crying with students as they come by to seek solace and a place to unpack the fear and release some of the anxiety they carry and have carried for far too long.
I cannot stress enough how crucial this time is for those of us in our connection to not only post on social media, call our politicians, and hold actions and vigils, but to find ways to open more spaces like 580 for our immigrant communities. I share the following commentary and challenge by one of our students, a plea for those of us with access, influence, resources to find ways to open and hold space for those frightened and driven into the shadows once more by fear and apprehension.
We hear rumblings that tomorrow [Tuesday, September 5] the administration will make an announcement of a decision - or not - but whether or not it is imminent or in the next few days, we covet your prayers and your support in developing a way to tangibly support and embrace our students and their families/communities. What that will look like? That is what I am inviting you to consider - how can your congregation/community/connection respond with love and action to reach out in solidarity at this time?
"This would be a great time for folk who have the resources and the networks to begin reaching out to people who have organized intentional communities, housing co-ops, and other self sufficiency schemes, to sanctuary churches, to sympathetic community members who can house and help provide for those folk who would lose their ability to shelter or feed themselves should DACA be rescinded. It's a good time to look into mutual support to help each other out should the worst happen.
Because we have to insist that there's a way to preserve and expand on our wins without capitulating to those who would use us as bargaining chips to expand border militarization, mass surveillance and policing, but we can't leave people without options and without ways to push through while we get there should the worst happen.
We can't hold our "leaders" and "allies" (or ourselves) accountable if we haven't found for ourselves or our families and communities alternative means to meet basic needs in the short term."
Please also know that by simply having a space for our students to gather and share is a gift, pure, honest, and hopeful - and the gratitude I hear and share with them is because each of you and those your represent have had the grace and courage to support our ministry with these resilient souls, and that has not gone unnoticed by them.
Finally, thank you for being there, for your prayers, your calls, and for your willingness to work with us in this time. May the God of Hope and Joy find us collaborators in creating pathways to justice.
Jeanne Roe Smith is the Campus Minister and Executive Director of the Wesley Foundation serving the University of California, Los Angeles.
Want to give you a brief update regarding DACA response and student impact:
As expected the announcement on DACA brought out many emotions - fear, tears, anger, frustration - but most challenging are the questions of self-worth and sense of devaluation by authority/society.
- Students came to get a hug, a shoulder (and shoulders) to cry on, and simply a place to catch their breath.
- Administration [of UCLA] reached out to make sure we were present and able/willing to meet with students they could direct our way.
- I participated in the Rapid Response Network strategy call, sharing our efforts and describing impact on students
- Students not at UCLA reached out via social media for support and connection
- Students began to organize ways to resist and support friends and family financially, emotionally and spiritually
- Coordinating campus response and programs for "brave space" activities with the Undocumented Student Program and CCCP (Center for Community College Partnership), we will meet today to organize our programs and collaborate on campus wide initiatives to resource students.
- Communion of sorts was shared around pizza, cookies, chips, and lemonade. In the breaking of bread, ongoing prayers and blessings among us, we gathered around tables to pray and bless our food and each other, and remember the source of hope, love, and joy. Minds, bodies, and souls were nourished.
- Thanks to Pastor John and Westwood for the pizza, Joy P from Filipino Migrant Center for the lemonade, chips, and cookies
More later, but know our presence here at this time is providing the grace, love, and hope so needed and valued. Thanks for your continued support, prayers, and care, keep it coming. We have a long road ahead of us.
Photo by Darin Oswold, Idaho Statesman
WMJM Member Speaks Out on DACA
Yuni Rueda, Documented by Love Action Network Convener and DACA recipient, speaks out about her experience with DACA and what the latest news on the program from the Trump Administration means for her. Read more.
Photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications
A Call to Action to the United Methodist Churches in the US
The Immigration Task Force of of the United Methodist Church calls on United Methodists to take action to stand with DACA and other undocumented young people. Read more.
Photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications
Churchgoers Stand with Immigrant Dreamers
United Methodists all over the US call on Congress to protect Dreamers through legislative action, United Methodist Communications reports. Read more.
This is special edition of the WMJM Justice Seeker newsletter.
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