This week’s post, written by Susan Lawrence of the UUA Resource Development Office, lifts up the four-page immigration justice resource for families found in the summer issue of UU World.­-Ed.

“What’s an appropriate, effective way to engage children in immigration justice?”

For a religious professional, an RE volunteer, or any adult involved with raising a child, that question comes up right alongside our own call to immigration justice—because any call to justice we hear is a call we want our children to hear, too, as they grow in faith. We want to spark a child’s empathy. We want to create a sense of urgency, but without creating a heightened sense of fear. Most important, we want to invite children to see themselves as agents of change—people who can help.

The Family pages insert in the new UU World magazine (Summer 2012) offers a carefully crafted approach, with a set of real-life stories, exploration activities, and justice actions for all ages you can use to lift up immigration issues with children and multi-age groups. Because this pull-out section comes with UU World magazine directly to your home—the true cradle of faith development!—parents, caregivers, and religious educators are probably accustomed to using it to create family conversations, games, and reflection. But you can also share components of the Family pages in other contexts, and this issue’s insert, titled “Standing with Families on the Side of Love,”  makes an especially timely pairing with Justice GA.

To help young people and their caregivers make a personal connection with immigration justice, this issue of the Family pages highlights family separations that result from detentions and deportation. You’ll find suggestions to help children and families explore the issue and percolate about what they can do to help.

The UU World Family includes tools for bringing Justice GA to your home congregation, as well as your home. Here are some ideas:

  • Share 12-year-old Flor’s story, “Separated by a Border,” or the Parent Reflection, “Two Families, One Story,” in worship. Both stories include photos of young people whose families and lives were disrupted by a parent’s detention or deportation. Either is the perfect length for a Story for All Ages.
  • Engage a multigenerational group in the game, “Dragon Families,” at coffee hour or another gathering, for a tangible reminder that kindness and respect strengthen bonds within a family, and that all families matter.
  • Include the game, “Awesome You, Awesome Me,” in children’s chapel, for a powerful experience of each person’s unique value.
  • Inspire a youth, children’s, or multi-age group to choose an action for immigration justice based on ideas and examples from around the U.S., offered in the article, “It’s the Law.”
  • Use questions in the short piece “We All Got Here Somehow” to draw out personal and family stories of migration to the U.S. A youth or adult group might respond to this piece with a few minutes of private journaling, or by discussing its questions in pairs, then sharing what partners learned with the larger group. This short, gentle activity honors the roots and journeys of us all—wherever we come from and however we arrived here.

Share the Family pages with every family you’re a part of, in faith! And please let us know how you use this resource in your congregation.

Susan Lawrence is editor of Families: Weave a Tapestry of Faith, the pull-out center section of UU World magazine.

About the Author
Gail Forsyth-Vail
Gail Forsyth-Vail is the Adult Programs Director in the UUA Faith Development Office. She is a Credentialed Religious Educator, Master’s Level, who served congregations for 22 years before coming to the UUA in 2008. The 2007 recipient of the Angus MacLean Award for Excellence in Religious Education, she has written or developed many religious education resources for UUs of all ages. She and her spouse, P. Stephen Vail, are proud and happy parents of three young adult Unitarian Universalists.

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