My Experience at Ecumenical Advocacy Days (March 2010)
By Rev. Julio Ramírez-Eve
“Justice with passion and compassion.” Those were thewords of one of my colleagues when we met with Senator Kay Hagan’s staff on the final day of Ecumenical Advocacy Days, and his words stayed with me. I represented New Hope Presbyteryat this recent conference in Washington, D.C., which united representatives of many denominations to work for justice for immigrants, refugees and displaced persons. What impressedme was to see the number of people who are standing in solidarity with our immigrant community, and to see the passion with which they are seeking justice on this issue. It made mefeel that we are not alone in this struggle, and that the church is present in this debate. As the Bible says, “Remember when you were in exile…” The march for immigration reform, inwhich we participated on Sunday of the weekend conference, was also very moving. It was good to see people demanding to be heard, to have their contributions recognized, and to beviewed with justice. There were many heart-breaking stories of law enforcement abuses and families torn apart by detentions and deportations. When I reflect on this experience, Iask: How can we see ourselves as one body in Christ in the midst of this controversy? The undocumented are among us. They are our neighbors and our brothers and sisters in Christ. Theessence of Christ’s teachings is compassion and love for others without regard to circumstance or social standing. Of the 700 people attending Ecumenical Advocacy Days, 55 of uswere Presbyterian, which shows that our church has a commitment to advocate for our immigrant neighbors. I am proud that the Presbyterian Church is taking a strong stand on this issue.