The Sunday after United’s Youth Initiates helped lead El Niño Jesús Needs Our Help on Epiphany, they took time (with Pam Hyde’s guidance) to write an op-ed commentary on immigration and particularly protection for the DACA dreamers.
For our Youth Initiates (as for many of the rest of us) there is a direct connection between what their faith as Christians teaches them and what they believe our country should stand for and how we welcome the stranger and care for those in need. In addition to the play El Niño Jesús, they have studied immigration issues and last spring, led by Mike Buttram and Pam, along with their Mentors, the Youth Initiates spent five days on the Arizona/Sonora border, putting out water, walking the migrant trails, going to court hearings and learning first-hand about the impact of current policies on both the people and the land of the borderlands. Their op-ed piece was informed by that experience as well.
The Youth Initiates also wrote the letter and op-ed piece in the wake of statements about Haiti, El Salvador and other countries of color and the current threats to DACA Dreamers. Given that many of United’s children and youth—and their parents—come from some of those countries and that our kids go to school with youth from around the world, such statements are not abstract but deeply personal. Writing the letter together was a way for the Youth Initiates to express their faith and care, while taking positive action.
In addition to the Youth Initiates and Pam, I’d also like to express thanks to their parents and also to the New Mexican Editorial Page Editor, Inez Gomez, who helped us get it in the paper—with all the names!
Click here to go to the commentary. Speaking personally, I am very proud of the Initiates and their understanding of the Christian faith’s call to “Love God, Neighbor, and Creation.”
Click here for the article on the Sojourners website on the Youth Initiates’ op-ed commentary