The Common Good

Immigration Activism: 'Take Our Small Actions and Multiply Them'

100524-immigration-civil-disobedience-lisa-sharon-harperLast Monday I got arrested.

Now, you've got to understand, I'm the kind of person who cried my eyes out in fifth grade when I got a pink slip for lateness from Miss Roosevelt. I thought that pink slip would ruin my whole future.

But I got arrested last Monday...and it was worth it.

In the shadow of Arizona's immoral immigration law, I locked arms with 15 other faith leaders, labor union leaders, and two city councilmen. Together we moved into the street and blocked traffic in front of 26 Federal Plaza.

In the shadow of 12 other states moving toward the adoption of similar draconian measures, 16 soprano, alto, and deep bass voices belted an old spiritual with new life: "We shall overcome!"

In the shadow of politicians who insist on using immigration reform as a political football rather than as a real problem to be solved, onlookers wept openly as one by one these community leaders were handcuffed and loaded into police wagons.

Today, in the shadow of our action last week, three NY Faith & Justice colleagues (a board member, a program leader, and an organizational partner) will stand in solidarity with "the least of these" (the immigrants within our borders) along with a spectrum of interfaith, labor, and civic leaders. They will be arrested today (Monday, May 24) at noon, 26 Federal Plaza. And still more will be arrested on June 1 -- same time, same place.

Now, in light of Pentecost Sunday -- a day when the spirit of God fell and brought unity and kinship between people from many nations -- most of whom were immigrants in the land, I pray:

God have mercy on us.
Christ have mercy on us.
God have mercy on us.

Take our small actions and multiply them.
Use our songs to soothe the hearts of undocumented immigrants across the nation.
May our songs mix with the sounds of their cries...
and may they all be counted as prayer to you.
Use our hands bound behind our backs and our feet walking toward police wagons.
May our steps remind "the least" that the first shall be last and the last shall be first...
and may our steps be counted as prayer to you.

Amen.

We covet your continued prayers and support.

Lisa Sharon Harper is the executive director of New York Faith & Justice and author of Evangelical Does Not Equal Republican ... or Democrat.

+ Ask the U.S. Senate to pass national immigration reform this year.

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