For such a time as this -- families being separated at the border
I have been struggling to find words beyond my outrage, shock and anger as I have watched the events of the last several months, and especially in the last two weeks, at our nation's borders and in our nation's Capital. Children, literally being wrenched from their parent's arms. Heartbreaking pictures of toddlers who are terrified as they are being taken away and put into custody as if they are criminals. Toddlers who are the same age as my grandchildren. Reports of minors of all ages being warehoused in army bases, detention centers and even an abandoned Walmart. Concerns that children now separated from their parent or parents may never be able to be re-united, and that adequate records are not being kept to track these families as they are being moved to separate facilities.
Many of us are not only struggling to find words, but also wondering what actions we might take while this monstrous evil is happening. Some are participating in protests and demonstrations, others are involved in letter-writing or making phone calls to Congressional Members and the White House. Government reports indicate 27% of those who are currently seeking asylum or a new life by crossing the border are from El Salvador, where one of our Companion Synods is located. Many are fleeing gang violence after family members have been murdered.
I recently heard from Bp. Medardo Gomez, who expressed his appreciation for what he saw and heard during his visit at our Synod Assembly regarding the work of AAMPARO. He was moved by the number of congregations which have declared themselves to be Welcoming Congregations for Unaccompanied Minors and many who have made public statements about being a Sanctuary Congregation as well as our being a Sanctuary Synod. The invitation to become a Welcoming Congregation is available if your congregation wishes to take this action. You can also access our AAMPARO website - www.spsammparo.org.
Other places where you might find your voice or discover actions you and others can take:
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service website - www.lirs.org. There is a specific appeal being made to help support the 148 removed children LIRS is currently sheltering.
Helpful information the Office of ELCA Advocacy explaining policies that separate children and families at the border:
Explaining Separation Polices
A statement from Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton and other faith leaders regarding the policy of separating families:
Bp. Eaton and Faith Leaders Statement
An encouragement from the Office of ELCA Advocacy to affirm our faith values in the federal budget by contacting your lawmakers:
ELCA Advocacy Call to Action
Statement from Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton on Executive Order
Please join me as together we find our voice and act individually and corporately to finally and fully end this monstrously evil policy of separating families. I encourage you to pray, preach, teach and talk about these issues - as we continue in our hope to be communities of moral deliberation, prayer and advocacy. Use the links above to provide information in the coming weeks for the people of our congregations and ministries to share with others. The events of the past few days clearly demonstrate that our voices and our advocacy do matter, so let us prayerfully and boldly speak and act.