UUJMCA’s Immigrant Justice Action Team
The Immigrant Justice Action Team (IJAT) provides leadership on immigration issues for the UU Justice Ministry of California. Comprised of volunteers from multiple congregations across California, the team works with UUJMCA’s staff and colleagues at our partner organizations to identify legislative, witness, and program priorities for the statewide UU Justice Ministry, including California UU congregations and individuals.
The IJAT partners with the California Immigrant Policy Center (CIPC), Freedom for Immigrants, Unitarian Universalist Refugee and Immigrant Services and Education (UURISE), and the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity to support their legislative, witness, and action priorities as aligned with the priorities of California’s immigrant communities. Partners also inform UUJMCA when and where UUs can witness in solidarity with immigrants and directly-impacted communities.
What IJAT Offers Congregations:
- A UU framework for immigration work
- Training on advocacy as faith-rooted activists
- Participation in statewide and regional multi-faith activities
- Introduction to CA UU immigrant rights advocates
- Opportunities to learn other advocates
- Access to successes/lessons learned by CA congregations
- Invitations to support immigrant communities
- Faith-based immersion trips to the CA-Mexico border
- Connection to national UU immigrant campaigns
How To Contact Immigrant Justice Action Team:
Jan Meslin, chair of the Immigrant Justice Action Team can be reached at: email@example.com
Immigrant Justice Issue Blog
Curious about what happens on a UUBorders Journey? Here's a reflection from Rose Harris, a member of the Summit UU Fellowship in Santee, CA.
My trip to the Tijuana border was both informative and inspiring. I had no idea what burden the people of Tijuana are bearing for those seeking asylum in the U.S. I was shown shelters that are housing hundreds of people from South America seeking a safe and better life. Meeting a family from El Salvador that was fleeing for their life and stuck waiting in TJ for a court date was especially soul rocking.
The trip to Friendship Park at the border wall was also moving. Seeing people talk to loved ones through a fence was heart-wrenching and inspired a desire in me to work toward a more just and caring immigration reform. I came back with a much better understanding of the asylum-seeking process and inspired to get more involved in immigration reform.
Learn more about our upcoming UUBorders Journeys (April 3-6, 2020 & November 20-23, 2020) and/or work with us to set up another trip time by going to uuborders.org.
Register soon - space is limited!
As immigrant and refugee communities face escalating attacks from the Trump administration, California remains a beacon for progressive policies, leading the nation by introducing bold legislative proposals that affirm the dignity and humanity of everyone in our state. Through CIPC (California Immigrant Policy Center)’s campaigns and legislative priorities, which include Health4All, CalEITC, and defending the California Values Act, we continue to advance inclusive policies that build a prosperous future for all Californians.
This year, CIPC is creating job opportunities and equal access to education and skills training; strengthening legal protections for workers; limiting the impact of private companies that collaborate with Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE); improving mental health and trauma services for immigrants, asylum seekers, and refugees; and expanding health and safety net programs for all Californians.
The Unitarian Universalist Justice Ministry of California is proud to work alongside CIPC.
Are you ready to learn more about U.S. immigration policy from those directly impacted?
Are you open to growing spiritually?
UUBorders is an experiential justice journey
to the U.S.-Mexico Border sponsored by the
Unitarian Universalist Justice Ministry of California
in collaboration with Garymar Academy.
As I have done on a number of occasions through my work with the Immigrant Justice Action Team of the UU Justice Ministry of California, this past weekend I took an incredible group of travelers on a Justice Journey to Tijuana as part of our UUBorders program to learn firsthand the injustices of the US immigration laws. The six UU travelers included three ministers and one Christian priest from Argentina. As often happens Miracles can appear. We visited a cafe and community center associated with Food not Bombs. There we met Nicole Ramos, an immigration attorney and tireless advocate for asylum seekers (and a former guest on UURoundtable). She had been working with the LGBTQ Migrants who had completed an arduous and dangerous journey across Mexico. Each hoped to apply for asylum. In our conversations Nicole shared that 14 members of this community of Migrants, seven couples, would like to get married. Would we be able to marry them? And of course with great joy we said YES. We were deeply grateful that this community of courageous Migrants welcomed us and trusted that our three ministers and a priest could create a deeply moving wedding ceremony in Spanish. And indeed they did. Although the marriages would not be recognized by Mexico, they would be recognized by the UU Church of the Larger Fellowship, an international congregation known around the world. But our Faith leaders were not the only hands at work. A member of our group found a jeweler to provide silver rings; others provided wedding cakes, others provided bouquets. And still other hands created a beautiful altar in front of the cafe with flowers and a Rainbow Flag draped with exquisite effect. So four hours after Nicole's request, a wedding with seven ceremonies began. As each couple married, the joy and love they had for each other was visible in their smiles, laughter and affection. And the love and support they received from their LGBTQ Migrant Community who surrounded us was amazing. Yes the Miracle of what love can bring grew and intensified with each marriage and filled this plaza and touched us all. We may not know what tomorrow will bring, but we who were so fortunate to witness and experience this evening. We will carry with us this gift of a Miracle from an amazing and courageous community.
~Dennis Brown, co-chair Immigrant Justice Team, UUJMP.S. Our Faith Leaders who performed the ceremony were Rev. Leslie Takahashi, Rev. Ranwa Hammamy, Rev. Rodney Lemery, Father Hugo Cordova Quero and Lay Minister Mar Cárdenas Loutzenhiser.
From their June 2018 uuBorders trip, four U.S. teens created portraits of people they met there - an activist, two deported mothers and a U.S. veteran. A film by Carter Beardmore, India Brittenham, Jake Grode and Sam Slye created during HW Go!: A Digital Storytelling Adventure, a program of Harvard-Westlake School and Peace Works Travel. Executive producers Cheri Gaulke, Jackson Kroopf, and Alethea Paradis. Copyright 2018.