Archive for June, 2013

Faith Leaders Respond to Senate Immigration Vote

Today the Senate voted on the most significant immigration reform bill in a generation.

 

“This is not an everyday vote. This vote follows months of sustained prayer and action for 11 million people deeply committed to their families and to this country. It is far from perfect, but it is a critical first step towards repairing a broken system that has torn parents from children, forced grandparents into detention camps, and left far too many hurting and afraid in the shadows.”

– The Rev. Jennifer Thomas, Immanuel Lutheran Church, Kansas City, MO

 

“We are deeply disappointed in Senators Blunt, Moran, and Roberts – 72% of Missourians and Kansans support a pathway to citizenship, and 3 out of 4 of our Senators chose not to represent their people. We applaud Senator McCaskill for being the one Senator to stand on the right side of history – with her constituents. To our elected officials in the House of Representatives: People of faith are watching to see if you will stand for families or stand in their way.  We pray that our members of Congress will have the wisdom and compassion to realize that delay and political gamesmanship will tear children from parents and leave more families living in fear. And we will remember your choice. “

 

– Rev. Stevie Wakes, Pastor of Olivet Institutional Baptist Church in Kansas City, KS.

 

Kansas City-based Communities Creating Opportunity (CCO) has been working to provide a pathway to citizenship for millions of aspiring Americans since 2006. In the past seven weeks, CCO clergy and volunteers have mobilized over 1,000 Kansas Citians, calling for a pathway to citizenship through marches, prayer vigils, and meetings with members of Congress. Since May 1st, over 100 area people of faith have prayed in sustained vigil at Sacred Heart – Guadalupe every day for families affected by this vote.

 

Photos from these events are available on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/KansasCityCCO/photos_stream

 

Communities Creating Opportunity exists to discover, develop and direct the power of people of faith to build a better quality of life for their families. Working in over 100 congregations throughout the Kansas City metro, we revitalize democracy through leadership development and the engagement of over 50,000 voters across our two states.

As Immigration Vote Draws Near, Local Prayer Vigil Intensifies

Kansas City, Mo. – With the most significant immigration reform bill in a generation expected to draw a vote in the Senate later next week, Kansas City families and clergy are expanding their prayer vigil at local churches.

Since May, women from six Catholic parishes in Kansas City have been gathering daily at Sacred Heart – Guadalupe Church in Kansas City, Missouri, praying that Kansas and Missouri Senators would be inspired to vote to keep families together. More than 200 people have participated, and as the vote draws near, those numbers are only increasing.

“This vote will determine the future of millions of families,” said said Fr. Jeff Stephan of St. Sabina Catholic Church in Belton, Missouri. “We pray that our leaders will have the wisdom and compassion to know that delay will tear children from parents and leave more families living in fear. It is time to fix this broken system.”

Communities Creating Opportunity has been working to provide a pathway to citizienship for millions of aspiring Americans since 2006, but in recent months those efforts have built to a crescendo, with Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) emerging as a key swing vote. On May 1st, hundreds gathered in rally and prayer at Jesucristo el Buen Pastor Church in the Northeast to launch the Campaign for Citizenship.  On May 11th, nearly 100 Kansas Citians marched eight miles through Kansas City neighborhoods, demonstrating in favor of citizenship reform. Last week more than 100 parents and children gathered at Sen. Moran’s Olathe office and sang and prayed, hoisting community art made to reflect the stories of families who would be impacted by a pathway to citizenship. For organizers, the vote cannot come soon enough.

 

“My dad was arrested and deported while driving my mother to the hospital to deliver my baby brother,” said Israel L, a 12-year-old member of an undocumented family from a local Catholic parish who shared his story with the crowd outside of Senator Moran’s office. “She got sick while waiting for an ambulance, and my brother didn’t make it. My dad couldn’t be with us for the funeral, and he is in Mexico now wishing he was with us. Unless there is immigration reform, we will never be together and be a family again.”

 

The rally and vigil are part of the national Campaign for Citizenship, led by grassroots faith leaders, clergy, and immigrant families, seeking to bring the voices of people of faith together with DREAMers to witness and work for citizenship for 11 million aspiring Americans.

“We are heartened that Senator Moran voted to begin floor debate on the roadmap to citizenship for immigrant American families who have suffered under current law,” said Rev. Stevie Wakes, a pastor at Olivet Institutional Baptist Church in Kansas City, KS. “As the Senator considers his support for this bill, we are hopeful that he will hear the prayers and the stories of our faith communities here in the Kansas City metro and join in public support for the unification of families and a pathway to citizenship.”

Kansas City Faith Leaders and Families Rally and Pray for Citizenship

Olathe, Kan. – Local clergy members, community leaders, and area families rallied at Sen. Jerry Moran’s (R-KS) office in Olathe today, urging him to support the pathway to citizenship bill.

More than 100 parents and children sang and prayed, hoisting community art made to reflect the stories of families who would be impacted by most significant immigration reform bill in a generation. Sen. Moran voted to advance the bill to the Senate floor on Monday, but has not indicated how he will vote on the bill itself.

“We are heartened that Senator Moran voted on Tuesday to begin floor debate on roadmap to citizenship for immigrant American families who have suffered under current law,” said Rev. Stevie Wakes, a pastor at Olivet Institutional Baptist Church in Kansas City, KS. “As the Senator considers his support for this bill, we are hopeful that he will hear the prayers and the stories of our faith communities here in the Kansas City metro and join in public support for the unification of families and a pathway to citizenship.”

The rally is part of the national Campaign for Citizenship, led by grassroots faith leaders, clergy, and immigrant families, seeks to bring the voices of people of faith together with DREAMers to witness and work for citizenship for 11 million aspiring Americans. But for organizers and participants, the effort is a very personal one.

“My dad was deported and couldn’t be with us for the funeral of my baby brother, and he is in Mexico now wishing he was with us,” said Israel L, a 12-year-old member of an undocumented family from a local Catholic parish who shared his story with the crowd outside of Senator Moran’s office. “Unless there is immigration reform, we will never be together and be a family again.

To help carry the stories of these families to Senator Moran, renowned artist Favianna Rodriguez (creator of the Migration is Beautiful campaign) led a community art workshop with local families the night before. Parents and children created a field of sunflowers that was used at the demonstration, and some of the children’s artwork was given to the Senator along with a letter from area faith leaders.

Organizers say this marks the first of a series of actions that will take place until the bill receives a vote in the Senate.


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