Who Belongs Here? Exploring Immigration with Children and Youth

Many UU congregations are looking for help in engaging children and youth with immigration justice issues. In February, the UUA will publish a four-session curriculum for children. With this post, we publish an annotated list of websites and books about immigration compiled by religious educator Karen Scrivo as a course project at Starr King School for the Ministry. In this post, she introduces her project-  Ed.

When my Italian grandparents came to the United States as children during the early 1900s, they and their parents arrived at Ellis Island without papers, passports or visas. My grandma Rose Siciliano was about 7 and my grandpa Louis Scrivo was 12. Their families made the long arduous trans-Atlantic journey to escape the harsh poverty that gripped southern Italy.  They came knowing no English and with dreams of finding a better life in America.

Their stories are similar to those of many of today’s immigrants – except then there were no quotas for how many Europeans could enter the United States.  So their undocumented status did not brand them as “illegal aliens,” nor did they constantly look over their shoulders, worrying they might be deported.  Had they been coming from Mexico, they would have not have encountered high barbed wire fences or been detained or turned back by menacing border patrols.

My grandparents went to school, learned English and later met and married in Freeport, Pennsylvania.  A carpenter, my grandfather built a house and also worked in the coal mines near Pittsburgh. My grandmother sometimes worked as a seamstress for a local department store.  They raised three sons – my father Bill and his older brother Bob and younger brother, Vic and lived to see their many grandchildren. (more…)

Introducing … “The Journey Toward Phoenix” on blogtalkradio

I am pleased to be a guest speaker for this exciting new project organized by Rev. Carlton Elliot Smith of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington, VA.  Here’s a chance to do some “cooking together” on immigration justice issues using talk radio as a medium- ed.

What if we could have a live national conversation among Unitarian Universalists about our Justice General Assembly this June? What if we could learn in real-time about what other congregations across the country were doing to address “Immigration as a Moral Issue”? What if there was an audio forum where UUs could be in dialogue with leaders in our movement about how to prepare for this unique gathering in our 50+ years of history?

It’s all happening, starting this Saturday, January 7, 4:00pm-5:00pm EST. Welcome to “The Journey Toward Phoenix”, an internet-based talk-radio program originating from the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington, Virginia. Each week, the program will provide a platform to showcase what local congregations are doing regarding the immigration issue in their communities, as well as providing information about resources available from the UUA as we look toward our Justice General Assembly in Phoenix, June 20-24. Leaders in our association will share experiences, plans, and details as they develop, and listeners will be able to call-in live to ask questions of our guests.

Among the topics we expect to cover over the next six months are youth involvement in Justice GA, the DREAM Act, Secure Communities, the emerging detention industrial complex, UU curricula and resources regarding immigration, participating in Justice GA on a budget, our public witness in Phoenix, and working with community partners.

This week’s topic is “Immigration as a Moral Issue.” The program will feature Marilyn Baker and Sarah Bazzi, co-conveners of the Immigration Working Group at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington, Virginia, in the first half-hour. In the second half-hour, we welcome Gail Forsyth-Vail, Adult Programs Director at the Unitarian Universalist Association (and editor of this blog!). Listen in to the conversation this and every Saturday from 4 -5 PM Eastern. There’s a phone number on blogtalkradio page so you can pose a question of our guests or contribute a comment.

Looking forward to greeting you on the radio as “The Journey Toward Phoenix” becomes reality!


Rev. Carlton Elliott Smith is a Team Minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington, VA. Throughout 2010-2011, much of his attention is going toward the congregational/denominational focus on justice for immigrants and their families.

Films on Immigration

Perhaps you have a little more time than usual for watching movies at this time of year.  Perhaps you are looking for a good youth group or other small group activity.  Perhaps you are looking for a selection for your congregation’s book and movie group. Here are some recommendations for movies that explore immigration issues. -Ed.

DRAMA

The Visitor (2007) 104 minutes, PG-13
In this fictional drama, an American college professor and a young immigrant couple grapple with the treatment of immigrants and the legal process post-9/11. The film makers are using the film to call attention to issues of due process, detention and deportation. Learn more about what you can do in response. (more…)

Modeling Multigenerational Learning and Service

The UUA Mid-South District’s Annual Healthy Congregations Conference focused on Immigration as a Moral Issue.

This  multigenerational conference, presented on October 8, 2011 had a number of tracks, including political, congregational, and social media responses.  The multigenerational faith development track included reflection, an immersion experience field trip and an introduction to a long-term social justice project. For a project, the District has planned a mobile library of bilingual children’s books to be located near an indoor playground. Pat Kahn reports on the multigenerational track written for the Mid-South Faith Development Council. 

Plaza Fiesta!

As part of the Mid-South District Healthy Congregations Conference hosted by Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta on Saturday October 8th, 14 people (5 children ages 6-9, 1 infant, and 8 adults) participated in a multigenerational workshop and field trip.  In the morning session, all ages heard the keynote address by Jerry Gonzalez, Executive Director of GALEO, followed by a workshop during which UUCA member Laura Murvartian (helped by her children Claudia and Nicolas Murvartian-Rhim) shared her own immigration story. (more…)

Your Recipes

This is the place where we will post programs, stories, resources, events and actions developed by and happening in our congregations and communities. Send YOUR congregation’s materials to Gail Forsyth-Vail, UUA Adult Programs Director and blog editor. (gforsythvail@uua.org). We’ll post them here, and then recategorize them as the project develops and the resource collection builds.