Reflections on the Immigration Bans 

January 31, 2017

Are you reeling from this week’s Presidential Executive orders? Although I’ve been a member of Plymouth’s Immigration Ministry Team for several years, I’ve never felt called to serve in so many places as during these past two weeks. Each event I’ve participated in has touched me deeply. The first event was joyful for me, volunteering with 1000 others at McCaw Hall to staff the Immigration event. I learned more about our complicated Immigration laws and witnessed people of many ages and languages coming to get help with their rights, apply for citizenship and/or consult attorneys about their cases, in preparation for what might happen under the Trump administration. I admire the courage of those who came, their perseverance for standing in line and their gratitude freely expressed. Interpreters helped put people at ease. I felt a sense of order, calm and moving forward in a positive direction.

Then the Executive orders were issued and my joy turned to rage and pain. The Press Conference held at Plymouth Friday, Jan 27 brought me to tears as several refugees and immigrants shared their own stories of what the bans meant for their lives. Thankfully, the wisdom and passion of speeches by Pastor Kelle Brown, Representatives Pramila Jayapal and Adam Smith and leaders from many faith communities and agencies rekindled my hope. We pledged to work together for justice.

Sunday night, I gathered for prayers and songs with other faith communities at Plymouth before marching to Westlake. The event was wonderfully coordinated by Briana Frenchmore. For me, it was a reminder that we aren’t doing this on our own – this is God’s work. I was especially touched to see children participating with their parents and Steve Davis who brought his mom for her first protest. It was truly intergenerational, interfaith solidarity in action. Being asked to choose a march partner and exchange cell phone numbers and hearing what to do if there were conflicts was sobering. The Westlake crowd was huge and I quickly was separated from our large group, but reassured by the proximity of my three march buddies. Yes, I was fearful when a dissenter began shouting fairly close to us. Grateful, others nearby engaged him and de-escalated the situation. It was difficult to hear the speakers and impossible to see them, yet no one complained. I was touched that so many people in Seattle would come out on a Sunday night to voice their support for immigrant rights, remembering that most of us are immigrants and we value welcoming the stranger and religious freedom as an important part of who we are as a country.

Thank you, Plymouth members and friends, for showing up everywhere to be the church for all those affected by the Immigration bans. It appears we will need to participate in these actions long term. Thank you also for contributing to this month’s Toy Drive for immigrant children served by KIND (Kids in Need of Defense). If you’d like to be part of Plymouth’s Immigration Ministry team, please contact Warren Smith: to be added on the email list. –Carol Mooney

Photo: Rep. Pramila Jayapal speaks about refugee rights at Plymouth.

Topics: Church Life, Events



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