The leaves are turning and the feel of Fall is in the chilly morning air. And if you are like me, your calendar is bursting with activities. I want to call your attention to the two immigration related events, one for Massachusetts and one for Rhode Island. October 3rd the Massachusetts legislature will hold a hearing on the TRUST Act at 10am the Hearing Room A-2. The TRUST Act would direct MA law enforcement not to funnel people into the unjust deportation system (were well over half of those held for deportation have committed NO crimes). The bill supports public safety by allowing law enforcement to focus on real threats to public safety. October 5th is a national day of action for immigration reform. There will be a march and public form in Providence starting at 3pm across from the Providence Mall. The forum will be at Gloria Dei chuech. (See the event listing further down the page.)
As I write, the threat of a government shutdown looms, sucking all the air out of all the other things our legislature should be giving their attention to. The passage of immigration reform looks dim. While desperately needed, frankly what is being proposed is so draconian that it might be best if it fails - which is a pretty grim place to be in. But since it is still in process, it is important to call on Congress to pass real, humane reform. It also means that we will need to keep up the pressure to stop the massive deportations that continue to take place (only about 14% of those deported fit the definition of top prioity, those who pose a security risk or are convicted of a violent crime; over half have no criminal history at all, not even traffic violations). And it means we need to continue to do what we can at the state level to address the needs of immigrants.
Immigration issues are not just of concern to immigrants. How we as a society address the problem is a reflection of who we are as a society. And how immigrants are treated often foreshadows how others will be treated. We ALL should be worried about a government that arrives in the middle of the night with heavily armed agents to wisk away a mother or father, or which holds individuals detained for minor traffic offenses without any legal protections that most of us consider automatic. I hope you will lend your presence in support of those struggling for justice on October 5th or at the MA State House on October 3rd.
Why, you might ask, is this titled Waging Peace when it is about immigration? The SENE program committee has been thinking about what we mean when we talk about making peace. There was a time when peacework simply meant stopping wars and trying to demilitarize our society. But we have become clear that the chant "No justice -no peace!" holds important truth. Peacework is... working for just, humane immigration reform, undoing racism, addressing the climite crisis that threatens the very earth we live on, ending wars and healing the trauma of wars, and much more. It takes place in our every day lives as well in the political sphere. Please join us in waging peace!