Pro-immigrant media organization America’s Voice is facilitating a national month of action called Tour of the Faithful. 17 events organized by local religious groups will take place in cities across the nation over the next month, calling for reform to the United States’ broken immigration system.
The first event on the Tour was an interfaith prayer vigil held at the Ohio State House in Columbus on Wednesday, Sept. 10th. I attended together with 75 others from a diverse array of faith traditions.
Rev. Mark Belletini of First Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbus offered a prayer, along with twelve other faith leaders, including Cantor Jack Chomsky of Congregation Tifereth Israel, Dr. Asma Mobin-Udin of CAIR Ohio, and Rev. Steve Hammond of the American Baptist Church. Standing under a banner that read, “Moral Voices Unite for Immigration Reform,” prayer leaders called for humane, just immigration reform and an end to raids and deportations.
For me, the vigil was an extremely powerful experience. English, Spanish, and Arabic were spoken, and faith leaders often began their prayers without identifying either the God to whom they were praying or the faith they represented.
Many vigil attendees also took part in a two-day Summit which taught tools and techniques for immigration reform advocacy. The Summit, which First UU Church of Columbus and the UUA Washington Office helped organize in conjunction with the Interfaith Immigration Coalition and local Midwest groups, exceeded my expectations. As the Summit drew to a close, participants shared their impressions. Many voiced a feeling that they were inspired and well-equipped to return to their communities to begin organizing and taking action.
The Prayer Vigil and Summit were two of the most amazing and effective experiences I have had during my time at the Washington Office.