September 15, 2006

clergy denounce good ol' boy tancredo


Tom Tancredo (AP Wide World Photos)

Today's Rocky Mountain News reports that Denver Clergy have denounced Tancredo's appearance at a neo-confederate hate group event. (Full Article)

The Greater Metro Denver Ministerial Alliance and the Latino clergy group Confianza said they were outraged that Tancredo spoke at an event Saturday at the South Carolina State Museum where the Confederate flag reportedly was on the podium and Tancredo joined the crowd in singing the Southern anthem Dixie.

The controversy began when an anti-racism group, the Southern Poverty Law Center, posted an online article calling the gathering a "hate-group event."


Tancredo spokesman Carlos Espinosa has accused the law center of intentionally fabricating facts to discredit the congressman. He acknowledged that there were Confederate flags in the room and said Tancredo joined in singing Dixie.

But, Espinosa said earlier this week, "These aren't racist people who spew out hate. These are just people remembering and cherishing their past."

That comment angered the Rev. Steven Dewberry of New Horizon Christian Community Ministries in Denver.

"To join in singing Dixie, (and) to walk into a room that has a huge Confederate flag in it, that should have been his notice to walk out," Dewberry said Thursday.

"Their past is our anguish, our slavery, our lynchings. It breaks our heart to think we still have some white brothers and sisters in (Tancredo's) district that agree with this wild behavior of his."

I found the Confederate Flags, singing of Dixie and Espinosa's comment that "These are just people remembering and cherishing their past" a little ironic and puzzling.

I could swear that NOTHING so gracious was stated when Tancredo was all worked up about the Mexican flags and Spanish language chants at the April and May immigration rallies.

Link to the Southern Poverty Law Center's report here. Additional details and commentary on Tancredo and the event can be found in the September 13th & 14th entries on Tancredo Watch.

Posted by almamia at 9:11 AM | Comments (0)

August 23, 2006

beauty at the border

No author is mentioned, but the following report was found on the website of No More Deaths.

It’s mid-afternoon and the sun has taken its harsh toll since the morning hours of meeting deportation buses. By 10am we have given water, food, and medical care to more than two hundred people. Hundreds and hundreds of tired eyes, blistered feet, and hungry stomachs.

"We have another bus," shouts a volunteer who sees the large, white Homeland Security bus pull up next to the U.S. customs and immigration building at the Mariposa Truck Port of Nogales, Arizona and Sonora-Mx. By now we know the drill and we station ourselves to be a team of hospitality. Volunteers take on the roles of handing out fliers telling of migrant shelters and aid for migrants in Nogales, distributing baggies of bean burritos and 1-liter bottles of water, conducting interviews for abuse documentation and general statistics, and ready to provide medical care. From a distance we watch and count, twenty-three…thirty-eight…fifty-two…a full bus. My stomach sinks, however, when I see that among the figures walking in a line through the port and in our direction are quite few smaller figures as well.

"Looks like there are women and children," I add. As it turns out, they have been in the desert four to six days. The children’s clothes reek of urine and there is dirt smudges on their faces. They are disturbingly quiet and still for the bundles of energy normally characterizing the ages of 1.5, 3, and 5 years of age. They sit on the curb near our humanitarian aid station while we bustle around trying to provide care and aid as quickly and to as many people as possible before they move on.

A young girl, twelve years old named Isabel, sits with her head between her knees. She has been vomiting and from the touch of my palm seems to have a fever. Her younger siblings and mother sit beside her, with the other young families nearby. I ask some of the mothers if they drank the dirty water from cow tanks in the desert, infamous for parasites, bacteria, even Giarrdia; indeed they have. The youngest ones, in diapers, have diarrhea as well. As a surface-level response to this situation, I’ve heard debates coming from others of my socio-economic background automatically blaming the parents of neglect for putting their young children in such a dangerous position. A twisted position to take in light of this reality.

Worried and thinking medically of what I know about the rapid physical deterioration of a severely dehydrated child, I find myself almost lecturing one of the mothers while distributing glasses of Gatorade and clean socks. "She must drink a lot, especially electrolytes," I say in my basic Spanish, "It is very dangerous for children to be so sick in the heat. It is very dangerous out there..." and I stop myself. The dark, weary eyes of the mother are staring back at me.

I feel as if my deep concern and genuine intentions are patronizing. I was telling her something she already knew, talking about the very dangers that have turned over in her mind so many times they haunt her like chronic pain in the bones. She has endured this emotional distress ever since she made the decision to make this journey with her children from the far away southern state of Oaxaca to join her husband who is working in Atlanta. My concern quickly turned into respect. Despite governmental and economic systems that do not allow a livelihood for her family in their native land, she was using her feet to demand to live and prosper. Most of all, she was demanding the human right to provide opportunity for her children and to reunite their family.

Suddenly the popsicle cart carrying fruit-filled "paletas" comes strolling by and the eyes of the young ones light up and they surrounded the cart. The mothers scold that they do not have money for that expense, 5 pesos each—about fifty cents. "It’s okay," I say, even though it is not within our protocol to give beyond what we have for all. "Paletas all around!" I reach for change in my pocket reasoning, of course, that they needed to cool their body temperatures and needed the sugar intake anyway.

Simply, I want to give the best possible care and the largest doses of compassion to these people who move quickly through my life and forever strengthen my soul, hundreds each day, knowing that I am sharing moments with the human rights heroes and heroines of our time.

Posted by almamia at 7:07 PM | Comments (0)

August 8, 2006

migrant deaths

According to this Houston Chronicle article, 291 immigrants have died in attempted border crossings in the past 44 weeks. The deaths Monday, also mentioned in the article, bring that number to 300. With 8 weeks remaining in this fiscal year, the deaths are on track to surpass the 400 mark, as they have over the past 6 years. Additional troops at the border have only served to push the crossings back into California. The number of deaths has not been reduced.

Meanwhile, No More Deaths continues their tireless work of washing immigrants' feet and providing them life-giving food and water on both sides of the border.

Don't be fooled by those who argue that tighter border security will solve our immigration issues. They are tragically mistaken.

Posted by almamia at 8:51 AM | Comments (1)

May 29, 2006

the church and immigration

In spite of Joel Osteen's involvement (" are God's favorite child"), here is a new site to watch...

The Mennonite Church recommends these steps to become better informed and more involved:

1. Build relationships with newcomers in our communities. Facilitate the mutual sharing of immigrants’ stories and contributions in our churches and neighborhoods.
2. Plan congregational learning tours in our communities, including immigrant neighborhoods, churches, and workplaces, as well as government offices that serve immigrants.
3. Partner with immigrant congregations to plan church services or community events.
4. Offer church facilities and volunteers for documentation services, English classes, ethnic celebrations, or other outreach programs.
5. Engage in mutual aid to offer food, shelter, clothing, and other resources to undocumented and documented immigrants.
6. Learn about issues affecting immigrants by reading newspapers or magazines, joining national immigration rights organizations, or contacting church agencies that work with immigration issues.
7. Join study tours to the U.S./Mexico border, refugee camps, or detention centers to learn more about U.S. immigration and refugee policies.
8. Advocate for just and humane policies for immigrants and refugees by contacting local, state, and national elected officials. (source)

Posted by almamia at 2:07 PM | Comments (0)

May 12, 2006

A Prayer for the Immigrant

God of the journey, God of the traveler,

We pray for those who leave their homes
in search of new beginnings and possibilities,
may they know your presence with them.

We pray that those who seek to make a home
in this country may find us welcoming
and willing to help them find a path toward citizenship,

We pray that our legislators,
as they craft new immigration legislation
may find the wisdom and courage to enact new policies
that do justice for our country
and for those who would immigrate here.

We pray for those who fan the flames of fear
and discrimination against the undocumented
may be touched with your divine compassion.

We pray in Jesus' name.

— The Archdiocese of Chicago, adapted

Thanks, Glen, for posting this beautiful prayer on your site Leviticus 24:22

Posted by almamia at 12:00 AM | Comments (0)