Wednesday, June 19, 2013


   The New Sanctuary Movement held a meeting of some of our liaisons to plan an event at Senator Ron Johnson’s office to encourage Johnson to vote for a fair immigration bill.  The liaisons are the representatives of the various faith congregations that work with us on social justice issues. 

   The event was to have a Father’s Day theme.  Latino ‘Evangelicos’ were especially excited about participating.  The difficulty of getting a clergy person came up.  “Why worry about that,” one of the Evangelists said, “As Christians, we are all to preach the word.”  A friar volunteered to try to get someone from his community to show up wearing a habit, but he wasn’t ready to do it himself.  With complete confidence a young woman said, “It doesn’t matter, Christians don’t have to wear special clothes or habits.”  “Fine,” our coordinator Nancy Flores Lopez said, and we went on with the meeting.

    Father’s Day cards were to be given to Senator Johnson expressing good wishes but noting that some children couldn’t celebrate with their fathers because they had been deported.  Johnson was asked to support an immigration bill that would stop the U.S. policy of separating families.  Large cards from various congregations, and cards made by the children would be presented to Johnson.  It was to take place in front of the Federal Building; the location of Senator Johnson’s office.  Prayers would be said, testimony of children would be given, and a Father’s Day poem would be read.  The children would release balloons expressing a hope for freedom from fear - from ICE, the Immigration Customs Enforcement.

  The event drew a large crowd and was emotionally very moving.  Nancy Flores brought a children’s Mariachi group all dressed in native attire, with their string instruments and they gave a memorable performance.

   A reading from the Bible and a commentary was given by Leonardo, one of the children from the Evangelist church:

Jesus said, Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the    kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these. (Mt. 19:14)   Senator Johnson, listen to us children…those that are here to deliver cards to you, urging that you think about their dads this Father’s Day. …’It was the worst feeling of my life to see my dad get taken away by ICE’ said my friend Salvador Rojas, a 14year old whose dad was picked up during a raid where ICE was looking for a completely different person  and took him anyway.

 12 year old Alma Nunez read a poem when the balloons were released.

Soaring free across the sky, a free spirit flying high  
I want to be like a balloon 
Ending up wherever, boarders are irrelevant                                                                                      
I want to be like a balloon
Soaring free, no fear of separation, no fear of being taken                                                                          
I want to be like a balloon
Migration is natural, and beautiful like the sunsets in June 
I want to be one a balloon.                                

   The demonstration was a success.  We don’t know how Senator Johnson will vote, but many more became, through faith - CONCIENTIZADO – aware that community action is the means to change unjust political and economic structures.

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