A weekly guide to stories about Unitarian Universalists from other media sources.
On February 15, Jeanette Vizguerra, a mother of four and a longtime leader in the immigrant and labor movements, entered sanctuary at First Unitarian Society of Denver, Colorado. Her decision came as she faced the uncertainty of deportation after her stay of removal from the country expired. For over a week, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents have raided immigrant communities in a dozen states. Vizguerra plans to remain in sanctuary at the church as she and her lawyer discuss next steps. (CNN – 2.16.17)
“This undocumented immigrant just announced that she is seeking sanctuary at a church. Now she waits.” (Washington Post – 2.15.17)
In New Zealand, Auckland Unitarian Church offered sanctuary to nine Indian students facing deportation over a case of student visa fraud. The congregation petitioned the government for leniency. “Supporting justice and fair play is in the DNA of Unitarians,” said the Rev. Clay Nelson. “This situation requires a response from us. It is clear that these students are being subjected to a harsh penalty due to the actions of others and not their own. We implore the Government to intercede on their behalf. It is the right thing to do.” (NZ Herald – 2.6.17)
“Indian students: No action to be taken by Immigration NZ today.” (NZ Herald – 2.15.17)
First Unitarian Church in Baltimore, Maryland, recently celebrated 200 years of history and activism. “This church has stood for equal rights and equality throughout its history,” said D. Doreion Colter, the church’s board president. “The work they did with the abolitionists, in the ’60s for civil rights, those things always touch my heart.” The congregation celebrated with a series of bicentennial events throughout the city, including a graveside reading at the tomb of the church’s founder and a bicentennial service and reception featuring UUA President Peter Morales. (Baltimore Sun – 2.10.17)
Since the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) announced its new policy on gender identity last month, religious denominations have had varying responses. The UUA and the United Church of Christ are among those who have welcomed the move to accept scouts based on the gender identity listed on their application rather than their birth certificate and have pledged to work with the BSA as they implement the new policy. UUA President Peter Morales called the announcement “a significant step in the direction of greater inclusion.” (Religion News Service – 2.17.17)
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Lauren Walleser is the communications assistant in the UUA Office of Information and Public Witness.
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