Interfaith Worker Justice worked along with Nebraska Appleseed and other community agencies to organize a vigil for immigration reform. There were over fifteen faith leaders from various traditions and all shared a prophetic voice for immigration reform to respect the human dignity of all immigrants. Together we recognized the dire need for change in the reality of a broken immigration system. Many migrants face fatal conditions to enter this country and then upon arrival are exploited by business interest and not provided with proper worker rights. Often immigrant workers are intimidated because of their documentation status and not treated as equals within the workforce.
Sr. Kathleen Erickson shared stories from her time serving on the border and her ministry visitations in immigration detention centers. Noe Ramon from Pixan Ixim Guatemalan group shared a prayer in his native tongue of Qanjobal. Rev. Debra McKnight read the below poem from the statue of liberty to reference this country’s historical making through immigration.
The New Colossus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"