Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Broadview Prayer Vigil June 14, 2013

 On Friday, June 14 at 7 am. an ecumenical gathering of church people gathered at the Broadview Detention Center near Chicago.  On Fridays the immigrant detainees are put white busses and taken to Ohare airport and returned to their country of origin.

 In addition to providing accompaniment for those being deported the vigil was the opening event of the Illinois Conference of the United Church of Christ.  It also honored the memory of Rev. Bob Sandman.  His wido, Olgha Sandman is here addressing the gathering.
After the vigil some of the activists gather for breakfast at a local restaurant.

Here is some coverage of the event from the Chicago Sun Times;

Thursday, March 28, 2013

From Guatemala

Update on Kidnapped COPIISCO Xinca Leader 
My apologies for the delayed note.   After a few days with other commitments, I was unable to inform you about don Roberto Ucelo.  Following is an update from our Communication Dept. Coordinator  Mayra Ramirez:

Brother and Sisters,

Yesterday, March 18th, in the late evening, Roberto González Ucelo was taken and abandoned in the department/state of Chimaltenango, Guatemala.    Mr. González Ucelo is president of the Xinca parliament and active leader of the North Eastern Region of Popular, Indigenous, Church, Union and Peasant Coordinating Organization, (COPIISCO).

Thanks be to God that he was found alive and although threatened to death, he continues and is committed to the defense of the natural territories.  We inform you that Rodolfo López y Rigoberto Aguilar were able to escape and we regret the extrajudicial execution of Mr. Exaltación Marcos, Xinca Parliament Secretary at Santa María Xalapán.

The four active indigenous leaders were kidnapped on Sunday March 17th after returning from a community consultation.  

We ask that everyone maintain the necessary security measures, in particular those who are at the forefront of the struggle and defense of our natural goods and assets.

Mayra Rodriguez, Communication Dept. Coordinator
Ecumenical Christian Council of Guatemala

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Postville 5th Anniversary

Postville raid: Five years later
Public invited to remember tragic event May 10, in Cedar Rapids

A gathering commemorating the fifth anniversary of the Postville immigration raid is Friday, May 10, in Cedar Rapids.

The purpose of the event is to remember the 389 persons who were arrested May 12, 2008; to reconcile with those who contributed to the injustices; and to advocate for the reform of immigration policies.

The event will begin at 12 p.m. with a remembrance ritual at the park across from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa, 111 7th Ave. SE in Cedar Rapids.

A "Walk for Justice" at 12:30 p.m. to Immaculate Conception Church, 857 3rd Ave. SE, will follow. Here an interfaith prayer for reconciliation and a call for reform of our immigration policies will take place at 1:15 p.m.

The assembly is being planned by a wide coalition of those involved in the response to the raid as well as those affected. It will include immigrants, who were part of the 2008 raid, church representatives who ministered to the immigrants and their families, lawyers who saw the injustice of the system, as well as others who are concerned about immigration reform.

Five years ago on May 12, 2008, the largest single-site immigration raid at the time in the history of the United States occurred in Postville.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials raided Agriprocessors, the main producer of kosher meat in the United States, handcuffed immigrants and bused them to the National Cattle Congress in Waterloo.

Most detainees were charged with identity theft and were shipped to prisons across the country where they spent five months before being deported. Immigration charges against the CEO of Agriprocessors were dropped.

In a matter of hours on that fateful day, Postville lost a significant amount of its population and worse yet, hundreds of families were torn apart.

The location in front of the federal Count was chosen both because of the court's role in the raid as well as because of the significance of the event to the on-going national conversation about immigration.

For more information about the fifth anniversary commemoration and call for the reform of our immigration policy, as well as for resources for organizing events in communities or congregations to coincide with this commemoration, contact Rockne Cole at rocknecole@gmail.com or 319-358-1900 or Sister Mary McCauley, BVM, at mmccauley@bvmcong.org or 563-583-8989.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Funding Appeal Underway

The Illinois Maya Ministry is conducting its annual funding appeal at this time.  We have received about $2,800.00 in donations already.  Thank you to faithful friends of this ministry in Chiapas, Mexico and Guatemala.

The main use of the funds received is to support our partners, particularly INESIN in Chiapas, and ACG in Guatemala.  We also use this to support a partnership of IMM and SiPaz!

If you wish to contribute make the check payable to: "Illinois Conference UCC."  Write "IMM" in the memo line.  Send the check to: Rev. Michelle Prentice-Leslie, 1221 Clearwater Drive, Yorkville, IL 60560.

Thank you.