On Oct. 17-19, 14 religious leaders came together in Chicago to listen deeply to our immigrant brothers and sisters. We heard testimonies from many, including:
· a young man who had grown up here but was undocumented. He had suffered from depression like so many other young people whose lives are in limbo. But he had found hope through joining with a local organization to create opportunities for himself and for others;
· Labor rights defenders from Mexico who are hard at work informing immigrants and native-born people of their rights (and shocking lack of rights) under US law;
· Nationally-recognized leaders in policy change;
· The regional director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
We shared meals, sleeping quarters, and personal histories, and together were transformed as we came to recognize Christ in our neighbors, the strangers and sojourners in our midst. We challenged ourselves not to be the “voice of the voiceless,” because our neighbors are not voiceless. This time, we are called to listen, and to think of ourselves as the sound engineers, amplifying and promoting the eloquent and powerful words already on the lips of our brothers and sisters.
By the end, we came away not only transformed, informed, and inspired. We also came away with new friends and partners in the immigrant and religious communities: partners who will accompany us as we continue the journey. Thanks be to God.