What does Silent Sam have to do with Anti-Immigrant Sentiment? A few resources for this Sunday’s Discussion.

News & Observer Video on Silent Sam and UNC Support for the Statue

Student Response to UNC’s gift to the Sons of Confederate Veterans

WUNC Report on the Gift


ICE Protest in Graham

Police in Riot Gear Intervene in Graham to Prevent March

Police participation in last week’s protest against the Sheriff’s department’s cooperation with ICE was clearly not meant to protect protesters. As the afternoon progressed, policed steady stepped up pressure to break up the protest. This two and a half minute video from The Times NEWS shows what was happening at 4:38 pm.

Today’s direct action in Alamance County.

The crowd gathers, 1:30 pm

The event began with short speeches, singing, and chanting. Never Again, a movement led by our Jewish brothers and sisters to fight against racism, and SIEMBRA NC, a Latinx organization working to build power within Latinx communities in our state provided leadership.

We left the property led by a procession of six black coffins representing those who have died in ICE custody. Our intention was to deliver them to at the door of the jail now serving as an immigrant detention center.

The procession begins, led by six black coffins

As soon as we left the property, we were met by police who had blocked the streets surrounding our location.

A show of force by Alamance police, some even in riot gear, blocked the streets in every direction.

The amazing show of force that stopped our procession was very disappointing. It seems that our peaceful action was perceived as a serious threat by someone in the local police department.

Speaking truth to power sometimes requires being willing to face such nonsensical use of force. While I was not able to stay till the end of the March, there were many among us who could and we’re willing to face arrest. As of this writing I have not heard news of how that played out.

Please be in prayer for them and wish us strength and courage as we continue to press for change.

Welcoming the Stranger – Welcoming Angels – Hebrews 13:1-3

In the video above, Dr. Eric D. Barreto (Assoc. Professor of New Testament at Princeton Theological Seminary and Dr. Jacqueline Hidalgo (Assoc. Professor of Latina/o Studies and Religion at Williams College) look to the Bible to guide us through our response to Immigration, Migration and Refugees.

Our class tomorrow morning (November 24, 2019) will begin with this video and a reading from Hebrews (13:1-3). We will look at the tradition of viewing strangers as messengers from God rather than threats of violence. Can we shift the national dialogue around immigration to be more reflective of this biblical tradition?

Direct Action this Sunday

We will also talk about a direct action that we can take in Alamance County in the afternoon after our class.

Those of us who attend will be joining our Latinx neighbors in Alamance County to confront Sheriff Terry Johnson’s racist policies and to pressure for an end to Alamance County’s contract with ICE.

Never AgainDown Home NC, and Siembra NC are collaborating on this event.  Down Home and Siembra are both organizations doing immigrant justice work (among other work) locally. Never Again is a national mobilization of Jews, immigrants, and allies organizing to shut down ICE and stop deportations across the US.  

This is a non-violent event. There will likely be walking, chanting, and singing as well as speeches.  The event is well-organized and will be attended by many who have been part of a mass actions like this before as well as people who are taking action for the first time.

Logistical Information

The gathering will begin at 309 S Maple St, Graham, NC 27215 (“The Center for Spiritual Living in Graham”) at 1pm

PARKING: Feel free to park on the street. We also have verbal permission to park the Children’s Museum of Alamance (across the street and about a half-block down the street from the Center for Spiritual Living). 

Here are some suggestions of useful things to bring with you:

  • Water, and perhaps a light snack such as a granola bar
  • Warm clothing. Here is a local weather forecast.
  • A small cushion for sitting (If you think you will need one)
  • Signs (Some ideas: Get ICE out of Alamance, Welcome the Stranger, Dignity – Not Deportation)
  • Comfortable shoes

A Theological Appeal for Defending the Refugee

Christian Aid is the relief and development agency of 41 Protestant and Orthodox churches in the UK and Ireland.

This short video is an advertisement requesting support for Christian Aid and its mission. In that appeal, though, we can see a theological perspective on the church’s role in fighting for justice and offering compassion. These are values that align directly with the focus of our class.

How can we promote this theological perspective in our own congregation? We will discuss this issue as we look at the story of the the refugee journey of Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus to Egypt and their failed return to Judea, leaving them finally in Galilee.

We would love to have you join us.

Gentle Joseph Heard a Warning, by Carl P. Daw Jr. (Hope Publishing Company, 1990)

Harvard University Choir sings Gentle Joseph Heard a Warning

Gentle Joseph heard a warning,
from an angel in the night;
valiant Mary, maiden mother,
roused from sleep, prepared for flight:
thus the Christ-child’s family lived out
what the prophet had foretold,
that he might be called from Egypt
as God’s people were of old.

Targets of a tyrant’s army,
seeking safety, fleeing strife,
leaving house and land and kindred,
spurred by dreams of peaceful life;
through the desert of unknowing
and the night of doubt they went,
guided by God’s promised presence,
by that trust made confident.

Give us, God, such faith and courage
when we move from place to place,
and to those who come among us,
make us channels of your grace.
Let us see in every stranger
refugees from Bethlehem,
help us offer each one welcome
and receive the Christ in them.