Dan Furmansky is the Standing on the Side of Love Campaign Manager.
The message below went out to Standing on the Side of Love supporters on Wednesday, April 20, 2011. You can sign-up for these emails here.
Standing on the Side of Love is deeply concerned about the passage late last week of Arizona-style SB 1070 legislation in Georgia. Please see the note below from our partners at the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) with more information on this terrible turn of events, and how you can take action.
Standing on the Side of Love
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Marisa Franco, NDLON
Date: Fri, Apr 15, 2011 at 10:39 AM
Subject: BREAKING: Veto Georgia’s HB 87
Turning the Tide Campaign
April 15, 2011
Georgia just became the next state to follow Arizona’s wrong direction by passing a copycat of SB 1070. Yesterday, the legislature voted to turn Georgia into a “show me your papers” racial profiling state.
The bill tells police to investigate immigration status during routine “stops” and ropes employers into the flawed E-Verify database.
We know from our experience in Arizona that these policies only result in fear and division.
Last week, several national organizations including NDLON notified the governor that passage of such laws may lead to a boycott of his state.
Governor Deal now has 40 days to decide whether to sign or veto the bill.
If you have not signed already, please sign the petition to tell him that Arizona-style laws are the wrong direction for Georgia, veto HB 87.
We will send more news shortly on how to support the people on the ground. Please sign the petition at http://bit.ly/vetohb87 and spread the word.
Marisa Franco, NDLON
Join us at the National Turning the Tide Summit May 26 – 28 in Virginia.More >
This Wednesday, 22 senators delivered a signed letter to President Obama urging him to grant deferred action to all DREAM Act eligible students. Deferred action would allow DREAMers to study, work and travel without fear of deportation until their immigration status can be resolved.
The President has the power to do this. In doing so, he would not only bring relief to DREAMers and those who love them, but also focus the attention of the Department of Homeland Security on the people who actually pose a threat to our security, for example, human traffickers and drug smugglers.
In such polarized times, the 22 senators who signed the letter really need to hear from us to know we appreciate their moral stand. The other senators who did not sign the letter, as well as President Obama, really need to hear from us to know that we are paying attention and that we urge them to what is right for DREAMers and our country. Lastly, the DREAMers need us to add our voices to theirs, to say loud and clear that we recognize the American Dream includes them.
Please take a moment to send letters to your senators and President, either thanking them or giving them a gentle nudge to stand with DREAMers.
Take action now:
This link will automatically direct you to the letters for your elected officials.
Last December, DREAM Act eligible students (DREAMers) and religious leaders came from all over the country to advocate for passage of the DREAM Act, which had already passed the House and was being considered in the Senate. As people of faith, we know that DREAMers are integral members and leaders within our congregations and in our communities. And we know how wrong it is to have these bright, motivated young women and men taken from us and deported from the only country they know. The failure of the Senate to pass the DREAM Act by only a few votes was devastating.
We can’t give up! Click here to take action today to stand on the side of love with young people who dream of a brighter future.More >
Today is the National Day of Silence. On the National Day of Silence hundreds of thousands of students nationwide take a vow of silence to bring attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in their schools.
As a small way of supporting all of those students who are taking action, we offer this video.
Ahmir, billed as ‘the most popular R&B group on You Tube,’ effectively takes on bullying with this catchy, heartfelt Pink tribute.
The lyrics say it all:
“Pretty, pretty please…don’t you ever ever feel…like you’re less than…less than perfect…pretty pretty please if you ever ever feel…like you’re nothing…you are perfect…to me.”More >
Dan Furmansky is the Standing on the Side of Love Campaign Manager.
The message below went out to Standing on the Side of Love supporters on Thursday, April 14, 2011. You can sign-up for these emails here.
Because of you, the Cardenas family is still together — Raul is still at home in Denver with his wife and children! At the deportation hearing Tuesday, the immigration judge, Eileen Trujillo, gave a continuance in the case until November. The continuance buys the family important time.
You were a crucial part in keeping this family together. You helped generate thousands of faxes, emails, phone calls, and petition signatures to immigration officials on behalf of Raul with the goal of keeping his family intact. Together, we were heard.
Some have asked how all of this support emerged for the Cardenas family. The lion’s share of credit goes to First Universalist of Denver’s Immigration Justice Task Force. The Immigration Justice Task Force at First Universalist Church in Denver came about a year and a half ago exclusively because of Judy Cardenas, a longtime member of the church. According to task force chairman Dr. Pete Peterson, the task force designation has allowed the group to do things with the authority of the church behind them; things like using the church’s name when they go out to talk with lawmakers or other citizen groups, or getting money for related activities.
In order to support more work like this across the country, we will host a webinar in a few weeks for you to learn how your congregation can start an Immigration Justice Task Force, or augment your immigration outreach and advocacy in your local community.
As Judy said, this is only “half good news.” What Raul really needs is a Green Card that would allow him to stay in this country permanently, to work, and to visit his family in Mexico. But because of the efforts of people like you all across the country, Judy and Raul now know that they are far from alone.
Helen Gray, a fellow church member, reported back from the hearing that in addition to the 20 UU clergy from the Mountain Desert District who came en masse to Immigration Court with the Standing on the Side of Love banner, the family was also joined by a cluster of supporters from Judy’s home church, First Universalist of Denver. The small immigration hearing room, which normally has two or three people watching the proceedings, was filled to capacity with the Cardenas supporters. Judge Trujillo noted the crowd’s presence for the court record, which included several members of the Immigrant Justice Task Force.
Dr. Pete Peterson of First Universalist Church in Denver said one thing other churches can learn from the First Universalist’s experience is that a task force empowers people. Members of the task force, he said, take it upon themselves to do things on their own that bring attention to the larger issues.
If you would like to learn more about how your congregation can support immigrant rights efforts locally, sign up for our May webinar today.
After the short hearing Tuesday, the ministers posed outside for photos with the family while holding a large yellow “Standing on the Side of Love” banner. They broke into song, singing “Love Will Guide Us,” and embraced Judy and Raul. Helping Raul and Judy represents the very essence of what the Standing on the Side of Love campaign is about. Together, we will continue our important work to help families like this one all across the country who want nothing more than to stay together, to live free in love.
Si Se Puede!
Standing on the Side of Love
by Helen Gray, First Universalist Church, Denver, CO
Calling it “half good news,” Judy and Raul Cardenas of Denver, CO, emerged from Raul’s deportation hearing with one of the outcomes they were hoping for – a continuance of Raul’s case until November.
Raul and Judy, married since 2002, have captured the attention of UU members and clergy, and immigration activists around the country because of their their efforts to keep the family from being torn apart by Raul’s potential deportation back to Mexico. They are parents to their seven-year-old daughter, Pamela, and to Judy’s teenaged sons from an earlier marriage, Billy and Sammy. They also care for Judy’s 90-year-old father, Wayne.
“This is the first time in my memory where a UU family has been touched so strikingly (by the immigration laws),” said Rev. Nancy Bowen, District Executive of the UUA Mountain Desert District. “This is a desperate situation. It’s up close and personal.”
“These are our children, they were dedicated in our church, they are part of our religious education programs,” Rev. Bowen said. In explaining why the Cardenas case has become a rallying cry for the Standing on the Side of Love campaign, Rev. Bowen said it’s about family integrity. “To take a family that’s intact and raising children successfully and doing so well in every aspect of their lives, and to tear them apart based on an act that happened 10 years ago, is not the way we should be treating people, any people.”
A decade ago, Raul Cardenas, who was single at the time, came to the United States to work, but without any documentation. His marriage to Judy, a US citizen, was not enough to grant him legal residence status or a work permit. The Department of Homeland Security brought him up on violating immigration laws in 2009.
For the hearing, Rev. Bowen and 19 other UU clergy from Colorado and Utah and Idaho and Montana came en masse to Denver Immigration Court of the Department of Justice. They were joined by a cluster of supporters from Judy’s home church, First Universalist of Denver, representing the church’s Immigration Justice Task force.
The hearing itself lasted only eight minutes. The immigration judge, Eileen Trujillo, determined that the two key documents, an approved marriage petition and a request for “prosecutorial discretion,” had not made their way through the legal and paperwork maze at the Department of Homeland Security yet. The continuance buys the family important time.
“Now there’s time for something else to happen,” said Judy. “That’s what we need, is time.”
The “something else” she referred to could be official recognition of all the community support that has come out for Raul’s case. Thousands of people around the country who have signed petitions through the Standing on the Side of Love website, and through Change.org. Nearly 4000 people have signed petitions directed to the Department of Homeland Security, sent faxes or emails to local elected leaders urging them to intervene, or made phone calls. A You Tube video of their story, “This is What Undocumented Looks Like: Raul and Judy Cardenas,” has had almost 4300 hits.
The family has gotten some support from the Colorado congressional delegation, but not enough to get Raul the Green Card that would allow him to stay in this country permanently.
For the hearing, the clergy, who were on a ministerial retreat in northern Colorado, all wore their colorful liturgical stoles. The small immigration hearing room, which normally has two or three people watching the proceedings, was filled to capacity with the Cardenas supporters. Judge Trujillo noted the crowd’s presence for the court record.
Rev. Bowen estimated the clergy represent at least 2500 UU members in congregations across the Mountain Desert District.
After the short hearing, the ministers posed outside for photos with the family while holding a large yellow “Standing on the Side of Love” banner. They broke into song, singing “Love Will Guide Us,” and embraced Judy and Raul.
The Immigration Justice Task Force at First Universalist Church in Denver came about a year and a half ago exclusively because of Judy Cardenas, a longtime member of the church. According to task force chairman Dr. Pete Peterson, the task force designation has allowed the group to do things with the authority of the church behind them; things like using the church’s name when they go out to talk with lawmakers or other citizen groups, or getting money for related activities.
Peterson said one thing other churches can learn from the First Universalist’s experience is that a task force empowers people. Members of the task force, he said, take it upon themselves to do things on their own that bring attention to the larger issues.
As for Raul Cardenas, the man at the center of the story, he is in legal limbo until November. Although he remains with his family, he doesn’t have permission to work, nor can he return to Mexico to visit any of his relatives there. After the hearing, he appeared stunned and not quite sure what to make of the legal posturing. “I’m just waiting for a solution,” he said.More >