About 60 million people around the globe have been forced to leave their homes to escape war, violence and persecution.
BY KATHY MABRY | December 22, 2017
The news was stunning; the action devoid of mercy. The current administration’s announcement earlier this fall that it was ending the DACA program – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, ran counter to the Jesuit ideals upon which Brophy College Preparatory was built and threatened the futures of Brophy’s Dreamers – young men thriving, excelling, and serving others. Young men for whom the word “home” means Phoenix, Arizona and the Brophy campus.
Immediately, President Adria Renke and Principal Bob Ryan sent a letter to Brophy families informing them of Brophy’s resolve to support its DACA students and their families in every way possible and urging the community to request comprehensive and just immigration reform from their senators and representatives. The letter concluded with the words of Fr. Pedro Arrupe, SJ, when he talked about Jesuit schools’ responsibility to form Men and Women for Others. “Men and women who cannot even conceive of love of God which does not include love for the least of their neighbors; men and women completely convinced that love of God which does not issue in justice for others is a farce.”
And then Brophy got to work.
The Brophy administration helped DACA families get counseling and legal advice. A coalition of student organizations including Kino Teens, The Brophy Advocacy Club, Hermanos Unidos, and the Brophy Culture Project, supported by the administration and the Office of Faith and Justice, launched the DREAM On Campaign. Over the next month, the campaign sponsored DREAM Act advocacy training, three DREAM Act phone-a-thons, a Faces of Brophy event with two of Brophy’s Dreamers telling their stories, and a campus border wall that both memorialized immigrants and activists who have lost their lives, and provided lessons on what it’s like to lose the ability to access safety and a better life.
In November, Brophy’s delegation to the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice in Washington D.C. met with Arizona Senator Jeff Flake to urge him to support legislation, as well as the staffs of Senator John McCain and Representative Krysten Sinema. Last week, three of Brophy’s DACA students were back in D.C. to work with the Vote4Dream community advocacy group. They met with New York Representative Pete King, and with Representative Sinema’s staff.
In December, Brophy, Kino Border Initiative and the St. Francis Xavier Parish School came together in solidarity to offer a Novena for Immigration Justice. Led by Brophy and St. Francis Xavier students, special prayers for immigration justice were offered on nine successive days.
Will Rutt, of the Office of Faith and Justice, commented on the effort thus far, “Our faith demands that we stand in solidarity with the marginalized – that we join arms with them and move forward united. To watch the students pull together and live out their Jesuit education and faith formation through this campaign has been a powerful experience.”
As the March deadline approaches, Brophy will continue to seek legislative reform, support our students, and work for mercy and justice for the Dreamers among us.
Kathy Mabry is the director of communications at Brophy College Preparatory, a Jesuit high school and middle school in Phoenix, Arizona. She hopes to continue helping the DREAM On Campaign publicize the meaningful and necessary work being done to support the Dreamers at Brophy and around the country.
BY ISN STAFF | December 20, 2017
In early December, ISN and the Jesuit Conference Office of Justice and Ecology partnered to mobilize the Jesuit network in support of undocumented young people in the U.S., advocating for passage of Dream Act legislation.
Across the U.S., more than 4,000 letters were hand-delivered to the offices of more than sixty members of Congress by parishioners, students, and teachers at ISN member institutions. The letter affirms the inherent dignity of those who migrate to the U.S., urging Congress to come to a legislative solution to create a path to citizenship, particularly for those who came to the U.S. as children.
Schools and parishes held letter-signing events and partnered with other institutions and community organizations to gather letters through early December.
Twelve Walsh Jesuit High School students, accompanied by two teachers, met with a staff assistant in Senator Rob Portman’s Cleveland, Ohio office, where they shared stories of peers with DACA status, framed their Dream Act advocacy within the tradition of Catholic social teaching, and asked questions regarding the Senator’s support of Dreamers in the U.S.
The group delivered 700 letters to Senator Portman’s office, gathered at a variety of letter-writing campaigns. Students began their efforts during lunchtime at the school. Tony Dipre, a theology teacher at Walsh Jesuit, was struck by “the vast diversity of students, faculty, and administrators approaching our table during lunchtime. It was encouraging that many people came to show support, but many others came to engage in conversation, not knowing what to think about the issue. The receptiveness to have a conversation about immigration and grow in understanding has been helpful to our school community, with dialogue leading to a more humane sense of why we, as Catholics, should care about immigration.”
Dipre also shared that his students were motivated to amplify their impact by speaking at their own parishes. At the Church of the Resurrection in Solon, Ohio, the former Chairman and CEO of Sherwin Williams, Christopher Connor, contributed to the letter-writing campaign, articulating to Senator Portman the importance of this issue as a person of faith, as an individual from an immigrant family, and from an economic perspective. Students additionally spoke and gathered letters at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Hudson, Ohio and St. Ambrose Catholic Parish in Brunswick, Ohio.
Of the experience of visiting Senator Portman’s Cleveland office, Dipre says that “it was a good experience for these students to articulate why our faith calls us to ‘welcome the stranger.’ It was particularly encouraging to see the energy after the meeting, discussing next steps to remain active and involved in this issue.
Christopher Kerr, Ignatian Solidarity Network executive director, emphasizes the urgency of efforts to protect Dreamers in the U.S. “Every day that we wait, we play with their lives,” he told America Magazine earlier this month. “These are young men and women who are studying, working, have families and they don’t know where they’re going to be in the next few months. It hurts them, it hurts their families and it takes away their potential contribution to this country.”
BY ISN STAFF | December 15, 2017
On Sunday, October 29, 2017, members of the Xavier University community gathered at an outdoor candlelit ceremony. Those gathered included leaders of prominent student organizations and Xavier University President Fr. Graham.
The event kicked off the campus’s 2017 UndocuWeek, a week of opportunities to advocate and pledge support for the undocumented community and the DREAM Act.
Organizers aimed to collect 1,000 letters from members of the Xavier community addressed to Senator Rob Portman, urging him to support the DREAM Act. “We smashed this goal and reached 1,429 letters,” shared Zeina Farhat, an UndocuWeek student organizer and president of Xavier’s Student Government Association. Student volunteers worked throughout the week to collect letters in the student center and outside of the cafeteria each day. Two phone-a-thons late in the week attracted approximately 200 Xavier students who made calls to Senator Portman’s local and D.C. offices.
The week also featured a mock checkpoint experience, a t-shirt giveaway, an immigration panel discussion, and participation in the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center (IJPC) Youth Educating Society (YES) Rally outside of Senator Portman’s local office which was attended by more than 50 students.
“As a senior, I can certainly say that this was the most impactful week of programming and advocacy that I have witnessed in my four years at Xavier,” shared Farhat. “It was incredibly powerful to see how many students, most not affiliated with the organizations that planned the week, donated hours of their time to sit outside of the cafeteria or in the student center and were willing to have difficult conversations with people who did not necessarily agree with our efforts. I think as students we sometimes forget that our voices matter. We are capable of making an impact— the stack of 1,400 letters proved that.”
View Xavier University’s UndocuWeek video:
View news coverage of the IJPC YES Rally in Cincinnati:
Sr. Norma emphasizes the importance of hospitality as a way to remind those who migrate that they are people of God, that they have dignity, and that they matter.
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