Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Si Se Puede! Yes We Can!

Immigrant Rights Rally in Chicago (CNN Photo)

With the chant "Si Se Puede," thousands of protesters took to the streets in major cities of the United States today seeking civil rights for immigrants.

CNN's report on the event read as follows:

CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) -- Kids skipped school. Men and women walked off their jobs. Others didn't bother going to work. Businesses shut down for lack of patrons or employees.
Throngs of immigrants and advocates took to the streets of many U.S. cities Monday to protest proposed immigration laws, and the sites represented a veritable where's where of American metropolises.

Among them: New York; Washington; Las Vegas, Nevada; Miami, Florida; Chicago, Illinois; Los Angeles, California; San Francisco, California; Atlanta, Georgia; Denver, Colorado; Phoenix, Arizona; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Organizers of the nationwide event, dubbed "A Day Without Immigrants," asked those opposing tighter restrictions on immigration -- namely immigrants themselves -- to flex their economic muscle by boycotting all aspects of commerce, including going to work and school.

Chicago was the site of one of the largest protests, with about 300,000 demonstrators marching downtown, according to the city's emergency management center. Predominantly Latino schools in the city saw a 10 to 33 percent drop in attendance.

As protesters marched through the Windy City's business district, some waved Mexican and American flags and carried signs that read, "We're not terrorists" and "We build your homes."

Justice for immigrants is an imperative for people of faith. The Bible for instance, is entirely on the side of the "stranger," that a Christian position on the issue can hardly be disputed. Here are some examples:

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

“And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? . . . ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’” --Matthew 25:38,40

“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.” --Hebrews 13:2
A network of congregation-based community organizations that I was closely associated with during my time in Chicago is the Gamaliel Foundation.

Its Clergy Caucus a couple of years ago perpared a strong statement entitled "Civil Rights for All Immigrants." The statement is signed by many religious leaders. It is a statement that can form the theological basis for our support for the justice for immigrants.


Post a Comment

<< Home