Check this webpage often for justice and service activity opportunities available at and beyond Belmont UMC.
Immigration Legislative Update and Call to Action
For decades, the United Methodist Church has supported and engaged in the movement for immigrant justice seeking a reform to our broken U.S. immigration system. This year, as our world faces a global pandemic while trying to find paths toward recovery and relief, it is time for the United States to honor the dignity and worth of immigrants and create a path to citizenship for all 11 million undocumented immigrants who call the United States home.
Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives took a first step in delivering citizenship for immigrants by passing the American Dream and Promise Act of 2021 H.R.6 and the Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2021 H.R.1603. While there is still work to do on these bills, we celebrate that they would create a path to citizenship for over 4 million people, including farmworkers, Dreamers, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders, and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) recipients.
This success is due to the tireless advocacy of immigrant communities, advocates, and people like you who put their faith into action. Thank you!
Last night I spoke with two United Methodists who shared why passing the American Dream and Promise Act and the Farm Workforce Modernization Act is important to them:
Tessa Lemos Del Pino, Executive Director of Tennessee Justice for Our Neighbors and member of Belmont UMC said,
Both of my parents grew up working the fields since they were of walking age. They were both lucky enough to be born in Texas while many of their compadres were not. Growing up, I saw the difference it meant to have the security and luxury of citizenship. Their citizenship meant they were eligible for college--my father served in the Army and worked for the government for years and my mom went to college and became a teacher and ultimately a school administrator. It meant I was able to go to college and law school.
But, I saw friends at church who worked in the meat plants and in agriculture who could not do the same for their children. Being afraid to be caught just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time is a terrifying way to live. During this pandemic, farmworkers never stopped working and likely did not benefit from the safety nets to help during this time, literally that saved our lives. Without the farmworkers risking their lives to feed us, the U.S. would be in a very different place. We owe them. They deserve to live without fear of being uprooted and separated from their families. Their work is honorable and should be recognized.”
Pastor Luis Velaquez, Wisconsin Annual Conference Office of Congregational Development Global Ministries’ Racial Ethnic Missionary – Hispanic/Latino Plan said,
The Dream and Promise Act, would provide a pathway to citizenship for “Dreamers” like me as well as Temporary Protected Status holders, who fled natural disaster and war in countries such as my native El Salvador.
As a pastor, I see immigration as one of the great moral reckonings of our time. It’s cruel to separate families, wrong to profit from immigrant labor while letting the threat of deportation loom and unconscionable to dismantle the humanitarian programs that protect God’s most vulnerable children. I believe most Americans would agree. But agreement isn’t enough. The Senate must now get the Dream and Promise Act and the Farm Workforce Modernization Act to the president’s desk.
I urge United Methodists and people of faith to recognize their undocumented neighbors as human beings: as husbands, wives, daughters and sons, who give everything they have to this country. Sit with our stories, consider the hardships we’ve escaped and see that we give much more than we take. Please, advocate for our full inclusion.
Learn more of Pastor Luis’ story here
Now is the time for the Senate to improve these bills, take a vote, and deliver a path to citizenship for our immigrant brothers and sisters.
Join us today for the Faith Leaders Call to Action to urge the Senate to act!
Scripture and our church teachings call us to work for fair and humane legislation that presents a way of “welcoming the sojourner among you as your own.” (Leviticus 19:34) As United Methodists, we believe “any reform of the immigration system must also allow for the full protections of all workers which includes the opportunity to gain legal status for all migrants.” (Book of Resolutions, ¶ 3281 “Welcoming the Migrant to the United States”)
As United Methodists, we have a moral obligation to assure all immigrants can live and thrive in a country that can truly be home for all of us. We invite you to partner with us on working for a welcoming, fair, humane, and functional immigration system.
Director of Grassroots Organizing
Nashville Organized for Action and Hope
At the last Nashville Organized for Action and Hope (NOAH) meeting, there was a discussion about NOAH's response to the insurrection at the Capitol. Please read the Executive committee response, which is being sent to the media; the NOAH’s Religious Leaders Caucus Statement on the Attack of the US Capitol, a longer faith leaders' statement; and the Gamaliel-Statement-on-the-Blatant-White-Supremacy-on-Display-in-the-U.S.-Capitol-Attack, from the national Gamaliel Network, of which NOAH is an affiliate.
Each year, Metro works with community partners to release the Cold Weather Community Response Plan that includes a Metro-run overflow shelter. This year, the overflow shelter will be located at the Fairgrounds and will open when the temperature is projected to drop below 28 degrees.
In order to ensure that everyone can make it out of the cold this year, we are asking WeGo to make their rides free to people who are experiencing homelessness and/or need to get out of the cold when the temperatures are projected to drop below freezing. While the bus passes they have given to the community are a great start in moving toward transportation justice, we must do more during these unprecedented times.
Please join us in emailing Metro Council Members and WeGo CEO Steve Bland to ask them to provide FREE transportation to those who need it when the temperature drops below freezing this year! (And please share this call to action!)