Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Vigilia Para Justicia -- Vigil For Justice

From the Aurora Sentinel -- Del periódico Aurora Sentinel:

Miembros de Comunidad estaban allí -- Members of Comunidad were there.

Faith calls together crowd for immigration vigil

FAITH VIGIL Daniela Ortega, 9, stands with her mom, Elsa, during a candlelight vigil to promote the passing of immigration reform Feb. 16 near East 30th Avenue and Peoria Street in Aurora. (Heather A. Longway/The Aurora Sentinel)

Clergy-organized group protests outside GEO Group detention center

The Aurora Sentinel
Published: Monday, February 16, 2009 10:24 PM MST
AURORA | About 50 people from various advocacy groups gathered near an Aurora detention facility Monday, Feb. 16, to rally for changes to the nation’s immigration policies and an end to raids on suspected illegal immigrants.

The vigil, which was organized by local clergy, was one of more than 100 actions across the country aimed at “demonstrating the faith communities’ commitment to inject humanity and compassion into the public dialogue on immigration,” organizers said in a statement.

Jennifer Piper, of the Quaker organization American Friends Service Committee, said ending raids was one of the main goals of the vigil.

“These raids really tear families and workers out of our community,” Piper said.

The vigil brought out a diverse crowd with participants ranging from toddlers to senior citizens. The group clutched candles, said prayers and spoke about their concerns.

“All faith traditions share a common mandate to welcome and care for all members of our community and love our neighbors as ourselves,” Jeremy Shaver, executive director of the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado, said in a statement. “As people of faith, we must keep that in the forefront of our minds as we approach the complex issue of immigration.”

Organizers said recent immigration raids have been destructive for immigrants’ families and they hope the vigils lead to change in Washington.

“We call on President Obama and members of Congress to demonstrate the courage to pass immigration policies that uphold and protect the dignity and human rights of all,” Shaver said.

The vigil was held just a few blocks from a privately owned and operated detention facility that houses suspected illegal immigrants. Florida-based GEO Group, which owns the facility, has plans to expand it — a proposal that has come under fire from immigrant groups.

Butch Montoya, founder of H.S. Power and Light-Latino Faith Based Initiative, said in a statement that it was important for faith leaders to speak out on immigration issues.

“Faith leaders are in a unique position to serve as a bridge between different communities struggling to come together on this difficult issue,” he said. “It is why we are standing here today as part of a growing national movement to renew America’s best ideals and values, not our worst instincts. We value immigrants and honor their God-given dignity, and we urge our political leaders to enact immigration reform with that in mind.”

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