In many cities near the U.S. border nowadays protestors have been holding signs: “Not Our Children; Not Our Problem.” They have been stopping buses that bring unaccompanied migrant children into their communities.”
On July 31 hundreds of people of faith from more than 10 states gathered in Washington, D.C. to hold a different protest in front of the White House. Our signs read: “Standing on the Side of Love for Our Immigrant Families.
As people of faith we know that these are our children too. “Let these little ones come to me, and do not stop them,” said Jesus Christ, “because to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:4)
We thank our United Methodist leaders Bishop Minerva Carcano and Dr. Bill Mefford, Director of Civil and Human Rights at the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society in Washington, DC, for organizing this action. Countless other leaders across this nation also stood that day in prayer for love and for our faith and social justice principles.
As over 120 of us were arrested in front of the White House, encouraged by hundreds of supporters, other faith groups around this country were standing for love too. They were opening their churches and homes to receive and care for migrant children. Why? Because that is who we are, as followers of Christ. We are people of faith standing on the side of love.
Each time we gather in Washington, DC for an act of civil disobedience, we are also encouraging and inspiring each other to continue in this very long struggle for human rights.
People of faith have a moral voice. People in power, who can change laws and improve life conditions for our sisters and brothers, must listen to that voice. God called us to be the voice for those who have no voice and to stand for and with those who suffer.
What makes this a movement powerful are our actions and our numbers. Thirty-two of us were arrested in February. This time we were 4 times that number. The number of supporters also multiplied. That’s how you build a movement!
We are also gaining depth and growing spiritually in this process. It is a dynamic much larger than ourselves. We are growing in our understanding of what it is to move from mercy to action and what it means to fulfill part of what we read in Mathew 25: “For as long as you did it to the least of these, you did it unto me”.
A faith that moves mountains is required right now. And we are learning that “Si se puede!”
Our commitment is stronger than ever because we are beginning to see what happens when we stand on the side of love.
Oh yes, there is still a long way to go in this journey. But let’s be encouraged. We DO make a difference! We must remember that, in our history, people of faith stood on the side of love before and change happened. It will happen again if we don’t dismay.
Please keep calling, keep inviting others to join, keep standing on the side of love, and keep raising your moral voice. Keep praying and crying before God for our children, for God’s children.
The body of Christ is a powerful force. Many thousands acting and moving in one spirit will be capable of significant transformation!
I saw the look of hope and determination and passion in the eyes of my brothers and sisters lined up to be arrested. If we are all faithful and do our part, God will come in Her/His might and complete the work. It’s a promise!
In the meantime, as we pray and cry and march and do whatever we can do in this struggle for justice, oh what a joy it is to be part of this wonderful, beautiful, powerful, body of Christ!
By C. Sol Cotto
Director of Immigrant Welcoming Communities
General Board of Church and Society
The United Methodist Church