Advocacy for Immigrants Empowers Sisters
By Sister Rose Marie
I give my heartfelt thanks to all who participated in the Dial A Dream activity at the recent governance meeting of the South Central Community of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas. More than 300 participants took up their cell phones and made calls to Senators and Representatives to request passage of the DREAM Act, legislation that would allow an earned path to citizenship for those undocumented persons brought to the United States at a young age by their parents. Currently these young people have no path to legalization.
So many Sisters said to me: “I never called my elected officials before. Seeing others make the call, being in a communal setting, and then experiencing how easy it was means that I’ll do this again.”
Participants wrote on the evaluations phrases such as, “This action gave me heart and courage.”
Others said, “doing this activity as a group was energizing; it was very moving to exercise our voice in this special setting.” Other participants used expressions such as “empowering,” “encouraging” and “easier than I thought it would be.”
Before picking up their phones, the participants at the meeting heard from Sisters who explained how this action fits into the mission of the Sisters of Mercy and their concern for persons who are poor. One Sister explained how advocacy is closely linked with the daily work of ministering to people; another Sister who lives in Jamaica explained how policies in the U.S. influence policies in other parts of the world.After the Sisters completed their calls, I introduced three young women who would benefit from the DREAM Act.
On a personal note, my heartfelt thanks for the many expressions of appreciation and support for the work of the Justice Office, of which I serve as director. Additionally, the unexpected grace for me personally of this advocacy event was that so many of you enjoyed and were energized by this communal action. The energy in the room was evident.