Monday, May 19, 2008

Hope and Outrage for Today

HOPE: Iowa communities, churches and progressive organizations are rallying behind families of arrested undocumented workers in Postville and Waterloo. Their outrage will become the seeds of a national tide that will turn against atrocities committed by the Bush administration and federal immigration officials against Hispanic immigrants.

Every cause that creates national change always has that one incident that stirs the masses to act. Postville can be it, despite the suffering of families there.

Here's how you can help in the moment. Go to and read about the outrage and reaction in Iowa. Then contribute to a fund set up to help the families of the detained workers. It is St. Bridget's Hispanic Ministry Fund, c/o Sister Mary McCauley, P.O. Box 369, Postville, Iowa. In the memo part of the check, put "Postville Raid". Or you can call (563) 537-0002.

After you've mailed a check or called, take a moment to ask Our Lady of Guadalupe for intercession. May is the Marian month. And she appeared to St. Juan Diego for a reason. Ask her for the courage and wisdom to fight these oppressors. Ask her to move Catholic bishops and dioceses across the nation to speak up and act out in new and politically saavy ways. This inhumanity should be the subject of every sermon across this nation this Sunday.

If it's not, ask your priest and bishop "why."

Here's how my priest, Father Joe Pat Breen at St. Edward Catholic Church, preached about the evils of the 287(g) deportation program run by the sheriff's office here:

The Nashvillle priest at the Saturday evening mass spoke to his congregation of children kissing their daddies goodbye in the morning before the school day, not knowing if this moment would be the last time to see daddy for days, months or years.

The Nashville priest at the Saturday evening mass spoke of plans in many families of what to do if momma and daddy suddenly were not home or could not be found after school. The phone numbers of aunts and uncles and cousins were kept on their small bodies to call.

The Nashville priest at the Saturday evening mass spoke of a dedicated worker on his staff who had left for another job. Her husband was stopped for a traffic violation and she could not find him for seven days. In tears, she called Father Breen for help.

"We wouldn't treat animals this way," he told the hushed congregation.

Surely, the priest was talking about something of this world's terrible past, even at its worst -- the persecution of our Jewish brothers and sisters in Nazi Germany. Remember, with the Holocaust, we as a world promised never to forget.

Shockingly, the priest was talking of modern day, of now, in Nashville, by authorities who are supposed to be representing our values in a city with more than 1,000 places of worship to God.

So far, in one year, 3,000 undocumented workers in Nashville have been deported after being arrested for traffic offenses -- and in one case -- fishing without a license.

OUTRAGE: reports that federal agents are using schools and the children of undocumented workers to track their parents. Latina Lista is published by a good friend of mine who I met in Oklahoma. Her website is a very worthy and invaluable read with original reporting you're not going to get in the mainstream media.

"This afternoon, ICE agents parked across the street from the Oakland, California Public School, Stonehurst Elementary. Troy Flint, press contact for the Oakland Unified School District, told Latina Lista that ICE agents parked across the street from the campus but did not try to enter.
'They knew they couldn't (enter) because Oakland is a sanctuary city,' said Flint. When asked if the agents appeared to be waiting for parents to come and pick up their children, Flint said he didn't have information regarding that but that he knew that ICE had arrested someone in Berkley earlier in the day. "

What can we do? For the moment, don't forget. Remember this incident. Our day is coming to stop this oppression, here is Nashville, Postville, Waterloo and Oakland.

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