A Belated Happy Mother’s Day.
I want to tell you about a mother and grandmother. Jeannette Vizguerra, has lived in the U.S., paid taxes for 20 years, reported regularly to immigration authorities, but on this one Wednesday in February she sent her attorney to request a stay in her deportation while supporters waved banners that read “No Hate. No Fear. Immigrants are Welcome Here.” Sadly, her stay was denied and Jeannette sought sanctuary. Until recently, her U.S.-born children visited her daily in her makeshift bedroom in the basement of the First Unitarian Society of Denver. This past Friday, after Senator Michael Bennett intervened, ICE granted Ms. Vizguerra a two-year stay, thus ending her 90-day sanctuary while she pursues her legal status.
We have been conversing these past two months about whether we, like the Denver church, should declare our congregation a sanctuary. It’s a complicated decision. But during this time, we have been ably guided by the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee.
If any group is expert at defying hate, it is the UU Service Committee, defending human rights during the worst global refugee crisis since its founding more than 75 years ago when its founders, Rev. Waitstill Sharp and his wife Martha, at great personal risk, rescued hundreds from Nazi terror . Today, we can find UUSC advancing economic and environmental justice in 17 countries, strengthening farmer cooperatives in Central America, workers’ rights in Arkansas, humanitarian relief in Ecuador and the Philippines, building solar-powered water distribution in Sierra Leone. We can find the Service Committee protecting rights at risk, defying hate along the refugee trail in Turkey, Hungary, Serbia and Croatia and helping migrants from Mexico and those seeking asylum in the U.S.
UUSC does not receive any funds from the UUA or the government. You are its primary source of support. Please make a generous donation, renew your membership or become a member. A $125 contribution is eligible for a matching grant from the Shelter Rock, NY congregation, but any amount is gratefully accepted.
When those in power do not protect vulnerable communities, and portray them as a threat we must act. We, like our UUSC founders, must defy hate. When a mother is separated from her children despite living in our country for 20 years, we will defy it. When a person is assailed because of the color of her skin, the language she speaks, the clothes she wears, or the bathroom she prefers, we will defy it. Wherever there is hate, we will defy it.
For more information about UUSC and how you can help, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your continued support in advancing human rights worldwide.