Just as Colorado is a presidential battleground state, it is critical ground in the movement for immigrants’ rights. As the state’s immigrant population continues to burgeon and ideologues spew invective against them, the faith community is standing up for the rights and dignity of all people, including newcomers to the country.
To this end, leaders of We Believe Colorado are taking part in today’s We Are America march and rally for immigrants’ rights in Denver. Early reports indicate that 1,500 people of all backgrounds joined the march. It included prayers and remarks from We Believe’s interfaith leadership, and attracted significant community and media attention to their call for beloved community and the common good. Yet another example of faith groups across the country taking action on values issues. Doing so in the shadow of the convention is especially significant.
Quite a week for immigration activists in the faith community. Religious groups across the country took action to affirm the dignity of immigrants and call for just and compassionate solutions from their government and fellow citizens.
We Believe Colorado stood with Denver city leaders to urge voters to say no to an initiative that would require police to conduct racial profiling against Latinos. Working together, they provided a blueprint for healthy church-state cooperation.
These leaders, like other people of faith, see the urgency of addressing this issue in an election year. From the NCR article:
“This is an important moment,â€ said Kevin Appleby, director of the U.S. bishops’ Office of Migration and Refugee Policy. “America could become more restrictive, belying our history as nation of immigrants.â€
Journalists and lawmakers are becoming increasingly aware of the faith community’s courageous efforts. In fact, as people of faith step out, opinion leaders are adding their voices to the call for a just immigration policy. Hopefully, candidates for national and local office will also take notice and follow and make humane treatment of immigrants a top priority.
Throughout American history, immigrants facing economic hardship, exploitation and nativism alongside the opportunity for a better life than was available in their countries of origin have found solace and support in the faith community, and today is no different.
When families are broken up, people are being rounded up like cattle in and detained in inhuman conditions, and immigrants are getting locked up for months on end before being deported, we’re dealing with more than a law-and-order issue, we’re dealing with a moral one. It’s good to see the Catholic church continuing its tradition of engaging it.
We Believe Colorado, a diverse interfaith coalition of religious leaders working to change the values debate, is mobilizing the Denver faith community to defeat Denver Initiated Question 100–a ballot initiative that, if passed, would require police to impound the cars of unlicensed drivers “suspected of being an illegal alien.” As We Believe Colorado and other immigrants’ rights advocates point out, the measure, which will be on the Denver primary ballot on August 12, all but mandates racial profiling and acts as a divisive force in the community.
At a July 28 press conference co-coordinated by FPL, Muslim, Christian and Jewish leaders from Latino, white and black backgrounds stood as one to say that the Denver faith community opposes discrimination and racial profiling, and that they’re mobilizing their congregations to defeat Initiated Question 100. It’s a great example of the faith community taking action in the public square for the common good.
Reacting to recent visits by Sens. McCain and Obama to the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy community in the U.S., Kety Esquivel of The Sanctuary and CrossLeft, talks about the spectrum of concerns among Christian Latin@s, including health care, immigration, and education.