The 2023 RIMS (Refugee, Immigrant and Migrant Solidarity) Summit is here!
March 25, 2023, Online 9:00 am – 12:15 pm
JUUstice Washington is excited to present representatives from UUSC, UUSJ and fellow congregations as we grapple with the ongoing immigration crises, with two panels. The first panel will feature our national UU organizations UUSC and UUSJ, and the second panel will feature on the ground efforts by several UU congregations.
National Panel Speakers (9-10:30 am)
Coordinator for Congregational Activism, UUSC
Heather (she/her) is the Coordinator for Congregational Activism at the UU Service Committee and as such, works with congregations, state action networks and other groups that want to do theory social justice work more effectively and faithfully. She is part of the Congregational Accompaniment Project for Asylum Seekers (CAPAS) team that matches (and supports) congregations with asylum seekers needing sponsorship. Outside of her paid work, Heather co-coordinates the Beyond Bond & Legal Defense Fund which is part of the wider Boston Immigration Justice Accompaniment Network in Massachusetts and is an active member of her UU church, First Parish Malden.
Heather will be speaking to one of UUSC’s strategic justice priorities, the Central American Migration, which focuses on three areas: the right to stay home, the right to travel safely, and the right to seek asylum. Heather will talk about the barriers to effectively seeking asylum in the US, current proposals from the administration that could make this even harder for migrants and the ways that interfaith coalitions are working together to address these issues.
Coordinator for the Congregational Accompaniment Project for Asylum-Seekers, UUSC
Jessica (she/her) is the Coordinator of the UUSC Congregational Accompaniment Project for Asylum-Seekers (CAPAS), supporting congregations and community groups around the country as they provide sponsorship and work in solidarity with asylum-seekers. She is the co-founder of the Journey to Asylum accompaniment program at the Williamsburg Unitarian Universalists congregation and also serves as the congregation’s Social Justice Co-Chair. She is a passionate advocate for racial justice and criminal legal system reform and is a founding member of the WJCC Coalition for Community Justice which aims to reduce pretrial detention, increase police accountability, and assist in the restoration of voting rights.
Jessica will talk about how congregations and community groups are taking action to help individuals and families enact their human right to seek asylum. Through the Congregational Accompaniment Project for Asylum-Seekers, UUSC provides training and support to prepare groups to host asylum-seekers and provide housing, legal services, community connections, and more. The project also connects recently reunited families with congregations for shorter-term assistance in their communities. Jessica will describe how to get involved in this critical work.
Immigration Action Team member, UUs for Social Justice
Jan is a member of UUs for Social Justice Immigrant Action Team. UUSJ is the UU national lobbying organization, that works to engage UUs to participate in the national legislative process. Jan is a third generation UU, formerly from Detroit (a border city), and now living in Las Cruces, NM, (another border city). She has been involved in migration/immigration issues since the 80s when she was a leg in the underground railroad moving Central Americans to Canada. She has participated in some tours and activities sponsored by the UUSC both domestically and in Honduras, and now serves on the Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice Immigration Action Team. She will speak to us of her social action work as well as her social justice work, and will explain how they differ.
Immigration Action Team member, UUs for Social Justice
Georganne D’Angelo is also member of UUs for Social Justice Immigrant Action Team. UUSJ is the UU national lobbying organization, that works to engage UUs to participate in the national legislative process. Georganne D’Angelo, a professional harpist, began her career as the founding harpist of two Mexican orchestras. Her love of Mexico and her fluent Spanish have led to a lifelong desire to welcome and assist immigrants whenever and wherever found. One of the longest sorrows she has experienced is the way our beloved country is treating those who look to us for help. At the age of 70, after forty years of one-on-one personally helping where needed, she was excited to be invited to join the UUSJ Immigration Action Team as one prong of her efforts. Lobbying Congress and their staff involved in immigration legislation, from a faith-based perspective that is rooted in our First Principle–to affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person, becomes another important effort in her immigration justice work. It joins her mentoring Trenton hispanic youth preparing for higher education, service on various scholarship committees, work with Syrian and Afghan refugees, etc.
On the Ground (10:45 am-12:15 pm)
In this session, we will hear from congregations are actively involved with working with asylum speakers and refugees. Come hear their stories and learn how congregations are supporting refugees and asylum-seekers make their transition to life in the U.S.
Ann Stevenson, Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship, Refugee Action Team
Laura Mandell, Chalice House, Countryside Church UU, Palatine, Illinois
More congregational reps to be announced.