On Monday, June 7th, a vigil to call attention to the impact of city policies and ICE on immigrant domestic violence survivors brought more than 100 people together. The vigil was held outside of City Hall before the weekly City Council meeting. The vigil ended with the English and Spanish singing of "We Shall Overcome" and a silent march into the City Council chambers.
Rev. Daniel Erdman, a local UCC pastor, read a statement to the City Council on behalf of the NM Faith Coalition for Immigrant Justice and the NM Conference of Churches. We stood up as he read this statement:
Statement – City Council – June 7, 2010
My name is Daniel Erdman, and I represent the New Mexico Conference of Churches, which is a member of the New Mexico Faith Coalition for Immigrant Justice.
A number of organizations and coalitions are present today, and I ask their members to please stand and remain standing at this time.
We come with one message: the Albuquerque community cannot be divided over the issues relating to immigration, and immigrants must not be blamed for the difficulties we face as a city and as a society.
We are ONE Albuquerque!
New Mexico has a proud tradition of diversity and cultural enrichment. Although economically poor, we have become an example of how people of different races, ethnicities, cultures and faiths can not only coexist with each other but also appreciate and celebrate our differences. We cannot allow influential people to devalue this tradition for short-term political advantage.
Not a sign of simple tolerance or indifference, our traditions of diversity rather express the best of our values, whether religious or humanist, values on which this nation was founded and without which it will perish: “that all are created equal, with certain inalienable rights, that among these rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
• We denounce any political tactics that would scapegoat the most recent arrivals in our midst.
• We resist any public pronouncements that forget our own histories and experiences of immigration.
• We abhor any veiled or explicit defamation that would equate immigrants with criminality.
• We protest the criminalization of those who have only violated a civil code in seeking a better life for their families.
• We renounce the terminology that would describe any human person as being “illegal”.
I ask all those who are standing to remain in silence for a moment, to reflect on these our common values and to silently express our hope that we as the community called Albuquerque, and the State of New Mexico, can together put into practice our civility, our unity and our humanity.