Raising the Voices of Immigrants
Written by Marco Cerqueira, Programs Officer and Ivone Guillen, Immigration Outreach Manager
There is transformative power in faith and story. Sojourners was founded as an intentional community and magazine in the early 1970s to tell stories and help people build empathy towards others with different life experiences. Their magazine and media platform are focused on racial and social justice, life and peace, and environmental stewardship. Sojourners amplifies the voices of immigrants and their allies in the U.S. and recently supported the union of the Latino Christian National Network (LCNN) to continue that effort.
The LCNN is a broad coalition of Latinx Christian leaders in the U.S., including Evangelical, Pentecostal, Historic Protestant, and Catholic leaders. The network creates spaces for prayer, dialogue, professional development, and common action on social and political issues impacting churches and communities – issues like immigration, abortion, health, climate change, racism, poverty, and others. Public decision makers are often included in dialogue and conversation to impact real change.
“We are a community of Christian leaders committed to supporting each other as we seek to be faithful to Christ’s call to be the ‘salt of the earth’. For us, to be “salt of the earth” means to be an instrument of renewal and transformation,” LCNN explains. The LCNN is part of Sojourners actions to equip and train faith leaders to engage their congregations and communities with tools they need to stand with immigrants, refugees, and people of color who have become targets for detainment, deportation, and hate crimes.
“There are often a wide variety of political perspectives in Spanish-speaking churches and political issues are avoided to maintain peace. In the case of immigration, however, these ‘political’ issues affect every aspect of families’ lives and health,” explained Sandy Ovalle, director of Campaigns & Mobilizing at Sojourners.
In addition to the support of LCNN, Sojourners has been inviting religious leaders to submit their sermons on immigration for the 100 Immigration Sermons project. “The sermons we are collecting begin with biblical study and interpretation, drawing out lessons relevant to our cultural context. We hope that as people read and think about the stories of immigrants in this country or their own immigration experiences, documented and undocumented, people will find scripture to be a rich field from which to harvest theological food, to end the moral starvation of our immigration policy,” concluded Sandy.
Sojourners is a longtime partner of Vista Hermosa Foundation, an initiative of Broetje Family Trust. Their efforts impact local communities across the country including here in Tri-Cities. Like our partner, we seek ways to be salt and light in this world to support the development of healthy and vibrant communities and bear fruit that will last (John 15:16).
Every month, immigrant community members gather to learn about servant leadership, build friendships and gain new tools to confidently raise their voice to create positive change for their families and community. While there is a diversity of perspectives present, it is through the sharing of personal stories and nurturing of community that lasting connections are formed for the common good. We invite new members who are interested in learning and engaging in these conversations to join us. For more details, reach out to Ivone Guillen who serves as our Immigration Outreach Manager.