• Kentucky DREAMers: Patagundi Brothers
    We're the Patagundi brothers. We have lived in Kentucky since 2008. Here is our personal story ... Here is how immigration reform affects us, our family, and our neighbors ... My family arrived to the U.S. legally in 2002 on visas, as our father was trying to do things "the right way" by applying for a work permit, he was rejected three times for his work visa. After getting bad legal advice, as he was returning to India he was caught by ICE members and deported back to India. Because of our father enduring some health problems, our mother decided to go back to India to take care of him, as she left us brothers in the states by ourselves. It's been over 6 years that we haven't seen our father, and 2 years since seeing our mother. This Immigration reform bill would allow my parents to come back into the states and reunite with us. There will not be another year that we will go without seeing our mother on Mothers day, or our parents missing out on our milestones such as; our college graduations. Today, we're part of a movement made of DREAMers, undocumented families in Kentucky and across the country, and allies – all committed to compassionate and just immigration reform. We stand together as Americans, as neighbors, as brothers and sisters. The time is now!
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  • Kentucky DREAMer: Maria Karen Lopez
    My name is Maria Karen, I have lived in Kentucky since I was 11 years old with my family. I come from a very large, Mexican family that enjoys getting together every weekend. On Sundays I drive from Louisville to Mt. Sterling (2hours) to attend church with everyone; and enjoy a delicious meal afterwards. Since I have been doing my studies at the University, it was not until Obama issued Deferred Action where I was permitted to get get a driver's license to drive freely without the fear of getting pulled over. With this immigration reform my parents could have this same peace of mind when they drive. Furthermore, we would all be able to go back to Mexico to visit family members who we have not seen in more than 18 years. Today, I am part of a movement made of DREAMers, undocumented families in Kentucky and across the country, and allies – all committed to compassionate and just immigration reform. We stand together as Americans, as neighbors, as brothers and sisters. The time is now!
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    Created by Steve Pavey
  • Kentucky DREAMer: Marco Saavedra
    My name is Marco Saavedra. I have lived in the United States since I was 3 years old. My family came to the United States in 1993 in search for work & education. We were subsistence farmers in Oaxaca, Mexico & my young parents believed there would be more opportunity in New York. Through scholarships I was able to attend Deerfield Academy & then Kenyon College. Since graduating with an undergraduate degree in sociology I have worked to stop deportations in Ohio, Kentucky, & throughout the country. The desperate need for change is most visible amongst the detained & separated families I have grown to know. Changes in immigration law would allow my parents to see their family after 20 years of separation. It would allow for my cousins to continue onto higher education. It would allow my nieces & nephews to grow without the fear of losing their parents. Ideally changes in law would coincide with a personal conversion of welcoming the stranger. Today, I am part of a movement made of DREAMers, undocumented families in Kentucky and across the country, and allies – all committed to compassionate and just immigration reform. We stand together as Americans, as neighbors, as brothers and sisters. The time is now!
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    Created by Marco Saavedra
  • MAY 19: NIA Worship Experience to Affirm Our Love of God and the Stranger
    We are closer to reforming our broken immigration system than we have been for many years. However, the outcome is far from sure. At this historic moment, Christians have a unique role to play in the achievement of a fair system that reflects biblical values. For More Information: Rev. Anthony Everett - [email protected] Steve Pavey - [email protected] Rev. Chal Knox - [email protected]
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    Created by Steve Pavey
  • MAY 16: Christian Leaders Immigration Luncheon
    We are closer to reforming our broken immigration system than we have been for many years. However, the outcome is far from sure. At this historic moment, Christians have a unique role to play in the achievement of a fair system that reflects biblical values. First United Methodist Church 200 W High St Lexington, KY For More Information: Steve Pavey - [email protected] Rev. Chal Knox - [email protected]
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  • MAY 17: Biblically-Based Advocacy Strategies for Immigration Reform
    We are closer to reforming our broken immigration system than we have been for many years. However, the outcome is far from sure. At this historic moment, Christians have a unique role to play in the achievement of a fair system that reflects biblical values. Estamos casi al punto de lograr una reforma de nuestro sistema inmigratorio roto. Pero nada es seguro. En este momento historico, tenemos un papel muy importante como cristianos. Nosotros podemos asegurar que alcanzaremos un sistema justo lo cual refleja los valores biblicos. Location: Embrace UMC (Epworth Campus) 1015 N. Limestone Lexington, KY For More Information: Steve Pavey - [email protected] Rev. Chal Knox - [email protected]
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  • Tell ESPN: Christian Does Not Equal Anti-Gay
    When NBA player Jason Collins came out as a gay man, he noted “My parents instilled Christian values in me. They taught Sunday school, and I enjoyed lending a hand. I take the teachings of Jesus seriously, particularly the ones that touch on tolerance and understanding.” Collins also understands the struggles of LGBTQ youth: “My one small gesture of solidarity was to wear jersey number 98 with the Celtics and then the Wizards. The number has great significance to the gay community. One of the most notorious antigay hate crimes occurred in 1998. Matthew Shepard, a University of Wyoming student, was kidnapped, tortured and lashed to a prairie fence. He died five days after he was finally found.” The Religious Institute applauds this courageous public witness, and our network of religious leaders affirms sexual and gender diversity as a blessed part of life. The Religious Institute is a national nonprofit advocating for sexual and reproductive justice, education and health in faith communities and in society. As longtime advocates for full equality of LGBTQ persons in all areas of religious and public life, we know that the vast majority of LGBTQ youth regularly hear negative messages about LGBTQ people, and that they are twice as likely as their peers to report being physically assaulted at school (http://hrc.org/youth/view-statistics) ESPN provocatively entered into the culture wars and deliberately skewed the Christian perspective by providing a platform for a voice that is known to denigrate sexual and gender diversity. (Update: The petition language has been amended to reflect LZ Granderson's participation in the segment.) ESPN neglected the many religious voices that celebrate sexual and gender diversity as a blessing consistent with their faith tradition. (http://religiousinstitute.org/sites/default/files/open_letters/diversityopenletter_0.pdf)
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  • Support Compassionate and Just Immigration Reform
    “I was a stranger and you welcomed me…” – Jesus (Matthew 25:35) Dear Kentucky Legislators, As our nation debates immigration reform, our faith compels us to advocate on behalf of the immigrants who are part of our churches and our communities. When we open our Bibles, we read of God’s special concern for the immigrant (Deut.10:18, Psalm 146:9), and we take to heart the command to take special care of the immigrant, particularly as we ourselves are people with an immigrant history (Lev. 19:33-34, Ex. 23:9). When we look up from our Bibles, we see how immigrants—including many who are presently undocumented—are integral parts of our faith, school, and work communities. Together, we are neighbors and children of God. When one of us suffers, we all suffer (1 Cor. 12:26). Together, undocumented immigrants in Kentucky and their allies, want to create opportunities for all to be right with the law, embrace the responsibilities of citizenship and preserve their families. Presently, the law provides no avenue for this vision of compassion, justice, and hospitality to be possible. For these reasons, we urge you to support reforms to our nation’s immigration laws that meet these principles. As we are called to do, we pray for "kings and all those in authority" (1 Tim. 2:2), including you, our legislators in Kentucky, who have the opportunity to do the right thing. As you work on immigration reform, know that you have our support and our prayers to make the best decision possible for our brothers and sisters in Kentucky and the nation. We will be working to further educate and mobilize Kentucky’s congregations and faith leaders (your constituents) around this pressing issue. Toward that end, we invite you to join with people of faith across Kentucky who are taking the “I Was a Stranger…” challenge, which takes its name directly from Matthew 25:35, where Jesus says that by welcoming a stranger, we may be welcoming Him. Dive into Scripture by reading a short passage of Scripture each day for 40 consecutive days that speaks to God’s heart for immigrants and to pray for the immigrants in their community. See for yourself what God has to say on this issue, and open your heart and mind to seeing how these Scriptures speak to you. Thank you for your service to Kentucky and for taking the time to consider steps to preserve Kentucky’s families, communities, and moral commitment to the dignity of each person. Respectfully, Kentucky People of Faith
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    Created by Steve Pavey
  • Faith Leaders Against Cage Fighting in New York
    In the wake of the tragic mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, it is unthinkable that lawmakers in any jurisdiction would risk exposing our children to an activity that involves extreme violence and brutality. Cage fighting, also known as “ultimate fighting” and “mixed martial arts,” is sensationalized violence that has no place in civilized society. In these contests, fighters are allowed to knock each other unconscious through elbows, kicks and knees to the head; and to strangle each other to the point of passing out through choke holds. At least four cage fighters from the United States are reported to have died from injuries sustained during amateur or professional cage fights. We are also deeply concerned that cage fighters have competed in public stadiums and on television bearing Neo-Nazi messages in tattoos and on clothing. The Southern Poverty Law Center wrote: “Not surprisingly, this rapidly rising blood sport is likewise wildly popular among racist skinheads and other young extremists with a thirst for violence.” These public displays of violence and hate are all the more troubling in light of the fact that cage fighting is being actively marketed to children. Today, children as young as seven years old are participating in cage fighting tournaments. Videos of these contests show children punching and kicking each other from behind chain-link fences, while adult spectators clap and cheer. Any entertainment spectacle that allows people to pummel each other in bloodstained cages has no place in a state that aspires to be a model for progressives, as well as a capital of art and culture. As a society, we have an obligation to protect our children from extreme violence and hate speech, just as we have an obligation to protect our children from drugs, alcohol and pornography. On behalf of our children, families, communities, and congregations, we strongly urge you to vote against any proposal that would bring cage fighting events to the State of New York. Patrick J. Carolan, Executive Director of Franciscan Action Network, Washington, D.C. Father John P. Duffell, Church of the Blessed Sacrament, New York Rita Freedman, Acting Executive Director, Jewish Labor Committee, New York Joseph J. Fahey, Ph.D. Chair, Catholic Scholars for Worker Justice, New York Rabbi Michael E. Feinberg, Executive Director, Greater New York Labor-Religion Coalition Father Brian Jordan, O.F.M.. Saint Francis College, New York Rabbi Jill Jacobs, Executive Director of T'ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, New York Marjorie Dove Kent, Executive Director, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, New York Father J. Cletus Kiley, Director of Immigration Policy, UNITE HERE, Chicago Sister Marie Lucy, O.S.F., Franciscan Action Network, Washington, D.C. Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, Executive Vice President of the New York Board of Rabbis, New York
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  • April 10: Rally for Immigration Reform & Legalization with Dignity in Lexington, Kentucky
    For too long, our communities have suffered under a defective and outdated immigration system that stifles our economic growth, makes political scapegoats out of immigrants, and tears families apart. The time is now for justice. The time is now for citizenship! Por demasiado tiempo, nuestras comunidades han sufrido bajo un sistema migratorio defectuoso y anticuado que ahoga nuestro crecimiento económico, explota a los inmigrantes y destroza familias. Ahora es el momento para la justicia. Ahora es el momento para dar ciudadanía a todos! EVENT DETAILS We will gather at Triangle Park downtown Lexington at 11am. The program begins at noon. FOR MORE INFORMATION phone: 859-270-5307 email: [email protected]
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    Created by Steve Pavey
  • Family Film Reviewer Won't Approve Films Featuring Loving LGBT Families: Fight Back!
    In April, "Love Free or Die" – the story of the first openly gay bishop Gene Robinson – was denied a family-approved rating by the Dove Foundation, a family film reviewer. Why? "Two men kiss and hold hands" and "many people state they are gay." As a minister who pastors to loving LGBT families, including a family shown in the film (two committed dads and the 4 at-risk children they adopted), I cannot emphasize enough that more families need to see "Love Free or Die." It is a film about love, family, and faith, as well as equality for our LGBT brothers and sisters. "Love Free or Die" shares a message that all of our families and children need to explore together: that our faiths and values teach us to love each other and our neighbors, no exceptions. The Dove Foundation exercises a lot of power by narrowing the choices for parents deciding what films are appropriate for their children. It's clear now that Dove focuses not only on the appropriateness of the content (violence and drug use, for example), but also, alarmingly, on what constitutes a family (no LGBT families need apply). It's alarming because many film industry studios, like Fox Home Entertainment, include the Dove “Family-Approved” Seal on all nationally marketed Dove-approved DVDs. Is "Love Free or Die" really the same as "Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D," which also is not Dove-approved? I know from experience that you can't help but be positively moved by the love displayed in "Love Free or Die." The film inspires conversations about love and commitment, faith and God, equality and dignity, that make our families stronger, and lay the foundation for our children to grow up as people of faith and values. Now, as a family film reviewer that writes their reviews based on Judeo-Christian values, the Dove Foundation has the opportunity to say that movies like "Love Free or Die," which show loving families, gay and straight, are faith- and family-approved! The faith that I know doesn't teach Love Only Thy Straight Neighbor. In fact, the church where I met Fred and Michael, one of the loving gay couples in Love Free or Die, decided not to perform marriages until same-sex couples could marry. Fred and Michael chose the church because it was a welcoming church for them and their children. Fred and Michael also chose that church for its strong family-focus. Together they had adopted 4 at-risk children, conquering the challenge of raising kids who would have otherwise had a tough life with love and devotion. Fred and Michael saw this as God’s work. Together, we can raise our voices to tell the Dove Foundation that the incredible stories of loving LGBT families – like Bishop Gene Robinson's, like Fred and Michael's – make our families stronger by illustrating a love that our faiths teach: one that embraces all. http://vimeo.com/39888349
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  • Tell Senator Schumer: Protect LGBT Families in Immigration Bill
    Dear Senator Schumer: As New Yorkers and as leaders of diverse faiths and backgrounds, we write to you today with thanks and a reminder. Senator Schumer, we acknowledge and applaud your sincere friendship with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community over many years. You stood on the right side of history when it wasn’t as popular as it is today and no one will forget that. Today, we call upon you to lead again by including equal protections for LGBT Americans and their families in comprehensive immigration reform legislation. Same-sex bi-national couples should not be forced to choose between their love for America and their love for each other. These couples are our congregants, friends, and leaders in our communities. They are created in the image of God, just like all people, and should be protected as equals by the law. As President Obama, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and so many others have said, LGBT Americans and their families deserve the dignity of the same family immigration rights as all other Americans. You have supported that cause, too, but at the moment, you have not made it clear that this important provision will be included in the original immigration legislation. Not including LGBT protections in the original draft of the bill sends the wrong message and risks that those critical protections will not be included. It also sends the dangerous message that it is acceptable to continue to discriminate against certain groups of people and would be incredibly damaging to those who support LGBT rights and immigration reform. The dignity of LGBT people, who we love and value, must not be traded behind the closed doors of legislative negotiations. They deserve a vigorous, public, and moral advocate in their U.S. Senator. As the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote from Birmingham Jail, “an injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” We, the undersigned leaders in New York’s faith community, urge you to publicly endorse the inclusion of LGBT protections in the immigration bill and to include the principles of LGBT equality represented in the Uniting American Families Act in the first draft you are generating with your Senate colleagues. This moment in history is an opportunity to cement your legacy as a champion for the civil rights of all Americans. This is God’s work. Please don’t let us, or our LGBT brothers and sisters, down. Sincerely, The Undersigned This campaign is a partnership of Bend the Arc: Jewish Action, Empire State Pride Agenda, Auburn Seminary, and Groundswell.
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    Created by David Elcott, PhD