Chicago Clergy’s Protest Calls on People to “Stand with the Dreamers”

February 7, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a reader:

On Monday, February 5, in 1 degree weather, almost 100 clergy and members of faith communities and organizations gathered at Federal Plaza in downtown Chicago to demand protection for the Dreamers. The call for the rally said, “100 clergy from across the Chicagoland area will join together to call on Congress to protect DREAMers. February 5th marks one month before the March 5th DACA deadline, after which, over 900 DREAMers will lose their protection from deportation and their ability to work in the U.S. every single day.”

Clergy and members of churches and social justice organizations came from across Chicago—Jewish, Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical, Unitarian. There were priests from Spanish-speaking parishes and African-American clergy. Dreamers and immigrants’ rights organizations were joined by clergy and organizations from across the city and from several suburbs.

The rally began with loud, defiant beats from Korean drummers that energized the gathering and set a determined tone. People carried signs saying, “Stand with Dreamers,” “Save TPS” [Temporary Protected Status], “We shall love the Immigrant.” One group had signs representing T’ruah, the Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, which said in English and Hebrew, “Don’t stand by the blood of your neighbor,” a quote from Leviticus.

A theme of the rally was the love of god for all people and the need for religious people to express it—to welcome the stranger and stand with those who are mistreated and cast out. A Dreamer spoke of the uncertainty and fear she has experienced for years, then turned to the group and said she felt safe and welcome among them. A high point came when one of the religious leaders stated that he was standing with the Dreamers and refugees—and asked the crowd if they, too, would stand with them. He was answered with a roaring “Yes we will!” which was repeated as he asked more questions, including: Will you mobilize your congregation, bring five more clergy to the next rally, and be present yourself at a protest on March 5?

Among participants there were various ideas of what to do and what it will take to stop the deportations, from keeping the pressure up on elected representatives to needing to be in the streets. One clergyperson announced her church had mobilized to raise $7,000 to help pay the costs of DACA applications and then had gone to a nearby university to find DACA youth in need.

Overall there was a spirit of people wanting to step up to meet an extremely serious situation. A woman who volunteers with a Jewish organization said she sees Trump changing the whole way the government is organized so that he can dictate. A Latino who had heard of the protest from a friend said he came because the attacks on immigrants are so serious. A few people spoke of the ACT-UP slogan “Silence = Death.” The breadth of this gathering, the spirit of resistance, and the commitment to organize widely to defend immigrants are important seeds of what’s needed and what people need to stand up for!

Refuse Fascism Chicago Chapter went out with the national statement, “First They Came for the Muslims, Then They Came for the Immigrants: Not This Time… Stand Up Now with the Immigrants, This Nightmare Must End: The Trump Pence Regime Must Go!” People got out cards throughout the crowd directing them to go online to watch the film of Bob Avakian’s talk THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In The Name of Humanity We Refuse To Accept a Fascist America, A Better World IS Possible.



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