Workshop explores what immigration advocacy might look like in the coming years
June 21, 2021
Amanda Craft differentiates between small-a advocacy and big-A Advocacy.
Small-a advocacy, she said during a workshop during the Presbyterian Border Region Outreach conference, is articulated every day. It’s about standing up for ourselves and others. It’s about making the system work for us, said Craft, manager for Advocacy in the Office of the General Assembly’s Office of Immigration Issues.
Big-A Advocacy is about defending rights and pushing back against structures when they don’t provide justice for others or they burden others. Big-A Advocacy “ensures the system allows for those rights to be lived out appropriately,” she said. “The goal is transforming human ways of thinking and human structures so they reflect God’s justice in the world.”
“That’s the aim of advocacy,” she told more than 60 people participating in the workshop, many of whom are already experienced advocates for immigrant rights. “It’s our responsibility as citizens and people of faith to reflect how Jesus calls us to live out the expression of God that we understand, and how that becomes the expression of God’s justice in the world.”
Craft read John’s account of Jesus’ interaction with the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well. She asked participants to describe a time they were like the Samaritan woman, when they saw the good and advocated for or with migrants. In turn they were also asked to describe when they were like the disciples and didn’t speak up. Craft asked the group: Why didn’t you speak up? What happened?
What’s important, she told workshop participants, “is to realize we are in it for the long haul, that resiliency is a form of resistance, and that it’s important to feed ourselves so we can continue the long struggle.”
“It’s hard to be centered right now,” she said. “Walking with and speaking out for immigrants in our communities is essential. What’s also important is how we choose to love our neighbor.”
“As people of faith, we are committed to the journey together,” Craft said. “Many of you have experience or have had interactions with people who have migrated.”
“There is agency that exists in the story of the migrant.”
Mike Ferguson, Editor, Presbyterian News Service
Today’s Focus: Immigration Advocacy
Let us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray:
Lord, in a world where we are often so busy with our own lives and needs, help us to remember that it only takes small acts of kindness to remind others of your love. Let us take the time to share those small acts of love and kindness wherever we may be. Amen.