Oakland church

Archive for Immigrant

Labor Day and Immigrant Rights Day at Skyline

When the alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. Leviticus 19:33-34

May is here. May 1st marks, for many people of the world, International Workers Day, also known as Labor Day, a time of honoring and advocating for laborers and working class people.  Relatedly, May 6th is Immigrant Rights Day to champion the rights and contributions of immigrants as a vital part of our country, especially here in California and in Oakland. 

During our 10 am worship service we will hear reflections from Miriam Noriega, a staff member of the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity.

Miriam is a first generation immigrant, and an MDiv student at the Jesuit School of Theology at the GTU. We will also hear from Jenifer, a young adult, who needed to leave Guatemala given the corruption and politics.  She is living in Oakland facing the challenges of living as an undocumented person.

After the service, from 11:30 – 12:30, with Miriam and Jenifer, we will focus on the fuller meaning of being a sanctuary congregation, specifically, the intersection of racism, class-ism, and the importance of interfaith dialogue and empowerment. Our co-chair of justice and witness, Mirtha Ninayahuar,   will share highlights of our sanctuary work as a congregation. 

Come and learn more about how we can become better friends and advocates, as a sanctuary faith community.

 

Immigration, Health Care, and Born Again

One of my favorite quotes is from Alexis de Tocqueville,  America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.  I believe that we are called to make America great, by making America good, by imagining what it would be like to be born again, as the most vulnerable in this world and in this country.

In religious circles there’s an overused phrase called being “born again.”   I believe that it’s time to reclaim it. I believe it’s time to ask ourselves, what would it would be like if I were born in Syria, or born in Honduras, or born into poverty in this country? What would it be like to be living in this country, as a Muslim? As an undocumented person? As a transgendered person? As a poor child of color, who’s family cannot afford health insurance or must choose between housing and education and health insurance?  

Over 65 million people are living displaced on this planet we call home; men, women and children fleeing from war, persecution, and poverty. What if we were born into such unimaginable realities?

Here in this country, the world’s wealthiest nation, prior to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act 47 million people were uninsured. With ACA, 20 million additional people were covered. What if we could not afford health insurance because of the circumstances we were born into? 

I am grateful to our denomination for taking an early stand in joining the ecumenical movement to safeguard the lives of immigrants and refugees. I am certain in the weeks and months to come our denomination will take a stand for affordable healthcare as well. 

I am also grateful to the cities of Oakland, Berkeley, and San Leandro for declaring themselves sanctuary cities; and to this congregation for entering a time of discernment about our call to advocate for those most vulnerable.

Join us this Thursday, at 7 pm at the Justice and Witness meeting to learn more about where we are in the process with the sanctuary movement.

Finally, here are a few articles about the UCC’s efforts to safeguard immigrants and refugees. 

UCC Joins Ecumenical Effort to Safeguard Immigrants and Refugees

UCC Leaders Condemn Revised White House Travel Ban

The Immigrant, The Undocumented, The Worker

Thanks to everyone who joined us to celebrate good weather, good food, and great company, last Sunday at our picnic potluck celebration. Special thanks to Marilyn Shaw for her leadership!

There’s something so beautiful, so biblical, so communal about sharing our food together, when we share so much more than just food together. We exchange recipes, and stories, we sit outside and behold the beauty of the earth, and appreciate the preciousness of springtime, we’re inspired to laugh and play, like children do. We share our common lives and our humanity.

Unlike the rest of the world’s democracies the United States doesn’t celebrate May Day as an official national holiday.

But outside the U.S., May 1 is International Workers’ Day, observed with speeches, rallies and demonstrations. This year, millions of workers in Europe, Asia and Latin America will be taking to the streets to demand higher wages, better benefits and improved working conditions. In Bangladesh, for example, protestors will be in the streets to demand that global companies like Walmart improve safety standards in local sweatshops.

Here in San Francisco and Oakland the local chapter of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union has vowed to shut down the two ports this Friday, May 1, to protest police brutality.

May we each find ways to expand the vision of breaking bread together and to create a society in which the basic human rights of all workers, locally and globally, are honored for they are our sisters and brothers. 

I’d like to share with you a prayer in honor of all Immigrants:

 

A PRAYER FOR IMMIGRANTS

By Jessica Vazquez Torres

Source of Life who is known by many names;

Over-turner and illuminator of hearts; 

We gather with gratitude for the earth and all who journey in it.

We are give thanks for the interconnectedness of all creation.

Support for those without support;

Stronghold of those without protection; 

We declare openly the times we have fallen short

From living out the call to justice our sacred stories place upon us;

From recognizing the whole of creation as an extension of our being;

From hearing the plight of the creation yearning for justice;

From seeing the harm our way of life and our policies inflict upon the creation

Jesus, carpenter of Nazareth, asks: What is the greatest commandment?

To love your creator;

To love your neighbor;

To undermine oppressive powers with life-giving actions;

To be in solidarity with all who suffer;

To act for justice;

And to teach others to act for justice

Let us not forget.

Source of Justice who is known by many names; 

Let us not swerve from the path of righteousness that leads to just and equitable relationship.

Open our eyes that we may see the immigrant and undocumented; 

Whose labor enables and sustains our living;

The farm worker, the hotel maid, the line cook, the childcare provider; the healthcare worker;

Give us the courage to stand with those crossing our borders;

Escaping economic oppression and political persecution;

Seeking work to support their families;

Aspiring to participate in the bounty of the creation;

Give us the strength to confront the prejudice and intolerance of those who are fearful; 

And respond by closing our borders to those who sojourn seeking life and opportunity;

Give us the will to leave behind the safety of our sanctuaries and temples; 

And claim our place in the movement to transform the creation;

That our voice, our heart, our spirit will join the voice, heart and spirit of all who

demand to live with respect, justice and peace.

Source of Direction who is known by many names;

In our daily living let us be guided; 

By the highest estimate of the worth and dignity of every person regardless of their legal status;

And let us not forget;

That the creation is founded on justice;

And that we have the moral responsibility to bring forth justice into these times.

Amen.