Sunday, May 22, 2005

We Still Have A Dream

On Saturday afternoon, I helped to lead a workshop on immigration entitled, 'A Day Without a Mexican'. I had a sense it would meet a need for many youthworkers, but I wasn't ready flood of deep emotion that it stirred in me, and in our entire class (about 50 people).

Andy Bales is a good friend who has been working with undocumented day laborers in Pasadena and Ava Steaffens is the director of Kidworks in Santa Ana. Andy presented a Biblical overview of God's love and concern for the alien or foreigner. Ava, having a background in immigration law, gave us a good overview of some the legal issues that our undocumented neighbors face.

Jaime Johnson, from Mariner's Church also gave us an update of the DREAM act, that is proposed legislation for granting undocumented youth who have graduated from HS, the opportunity to attend college, receive financial aid, work, and ultimately receive their legal residency in the USA.

The most impactful part of our time was hearing directly from a some men and women who are here in this country, wanting to become legal residents and citizens, with very little hope of seeing that happen. We heard their honest and compelling stories and had a Spirit led prayer time for them, and for all of the families and youth in our country that are in the same situation.

Finally, we all decided that as a result of that meeting (with many young leaders present) we would begin an effort to mobilize the Church in our nation to get engaged in this issue with clear moral and Biblical implications for people of faith.

That night, I registered the web domain, 'we still have a dream' to begin the process of establishing a website to post information, resources, and opportunities that would help us to address the plight of thousands of young people who have lived in this country for years, who desire to stay and become productive members of society, but have no opportunity to do so. Like Dr. King, who stirred a nation to action for the civil rights of African Americans, we too, 'still have a dream' to see justice flow like a river (Amos 5) for our undocumented neighbors, in a land that has flourished because of our legacy to take in the tired and the oppressed.

My vision is that we will be able to stir up the church to action on behalf of the poor and the undocumented in our nation, especially the children and youth.


At 11:33 PM, Blogger David Trigueros said...

Amazing stuff. I can feel it. It's partly all of our stories, including mine to some degree. Our Mexican brothers need to be encouraged to persevere amidst little hope. To be faithful, to honor God, to seek justice and do mercy.

At 12:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can you give a summary of what the latest is on the DREAM ACT? I was unable to be at UYWI this year, but I have one student who is very affected by his immigration status right now. Great student, but can't pay for school due to legal status...


At 1:20 PM, Blogger Noel Castellanos said...

here is a link with more info.


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