United Methodist Women Stands in Solidarity for Immigrant Rights
United Methodist Women stood in solidarity for immigrant rights on two occasions last week, as the organization’s Immigrant Rights/Civil Rights Initiative took steps to support this issue.
The organization released a statement, affirmed by Women’s Division directors at their fall board meeting, to expand its response to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which unfairly hurts women and children affected by interrogations. The statement says, “The Women’s Division affirms United Methodist Church policy, which states that ‘To refuse to welcome migrants to this country and to stand by in silence while families are separated, individual freedoms are ignored, and the migrant community in the US is demonized…is complicity to sin.’” (From the 2008 General Conference Resolution: "Welcoming the Migrant to the United States".)
This initiative led to participation of United Methodist Women in two immigration rights events, in Chicago, Ill., and Hempstead, N.Y. In a statement released Oct. 8, United Methodist Women of Northern Illinois Conference confirmed its support of members of the Adalberto United Methodist Church in Chicago and the ¡Ya Basta! or “Enough Already” campaign. The ¡Ya Basta! campaign is fasting for two weeks from Oct. 1-14 “to demand an end to immigrant raids, detentions, deportations, and the separation of families,” a ¡Ya Basta! statement said.
Rita Smith, Northern Illinois Conference mission coordinator for social action, attended a press conference put on by ¡Ya Basta! and signed a “commitment scroll” calling for an end to deportations and raids with other religious leaders. “Elected officials [joined] with over 60 organizations after last week’s dramatic and unanimous call for a moratorium by the Mayor and City Council of Chicago,” said a ¡Ya Basta! press announcement.
“Participating in the ¡Ya Basta! event strengthened my commitment to United Methodist Women’s stance on immigration as a human rights issue,” Ms. Smith said.
In another event, hours before the last Presidential debate between Senators John McCain and Barack Obama at Hofstra University in Hempstead, representatives of United Methodist Women joined an immigrant rights coalition, the Long Island Alliance for Peaceful Alternatives, for a rally outside the debate.
“As a Christian women’s organization focused on the needs of women, children and youth, we honor those women who act for justice with their faith and their hearts,” the Immigration Rights/Civil Rights Initiative statement said.