by Susan Fried
On Sunday September 24, faith leaders from diverse religious traditions gathered for “No Human Being is Illegal An Interfaith Response Supporting DACA” at Columbia City Church of Hope. Clergy members spoke about working together to support DACA recipients and undocumented people.
Pastor Darla DeFrance of Columbia City Church of Hope spoke of Jesus having literally identified as being homeless and a refugee. Addressing those gathered, she asked, “how do we support our sisters and brother who are threatened with being cast out, how do we partner with each other across the lines of faith and race and citizenship to be a place of refuge?”
All the faith leaders in attendance spoke about the moral duty people of faith have to speak out against inhumane policies effecting the vulnerable. They all also cited beliefs in their own religious traditions that spoke of the need to take care of, “the neighbor who is a stranger”.
Dr. Jasmit Singh with The Sikh Coalition said news of undocumented people being threatened leaves him with no other option but to take a stand. “It’s a call to action. It’s no longer a call to just speak about it, We all have the ability to make change”.
The Reverend Shalom Agtarap with the PNW Conference of the United Methodist Church and the Imam Benjamin Shabazz also echoed Singh’s sentiments.
The Reverend John Stean of (Ebenezer) AME Zion Church quoted scripture and vowed for his congregation to take action, “We intend to love mercy, not just for ourselves and those who look like and speak and live and love like us but for all those God calls family; we intend to do justice not just tweet it, post it or put a sign in our yard but to live it with our expenditures of time and energy, resources and risk and we intend to walk humbly, drawing our listening ears, opening hearts and supporting lives alongside those who are most vulnerable to abuses of power which devour the many to engorge the few.”
Former State Legislator Velma Veloria who now works with Faith Action Network combating human trafficking talked about how refusing to allow people from war torn countries into the US and forcing deportations can increase human trafficking. “What our government is doing today is actually facilitating human trafficking”.
The gathering ended as it began with the playing of Ella’s song by Sweet Honey in the Rock but this time antendees sang along with the refrain “We who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes”; vowing to defend DACA recipients and the broader undocumented community.
Featured image by Susan Fried