Dear IMIrJ friends,
2019 has felt like a year of transition for both myself and IMIrJ. If I had the pleasure of meeting you after moving to Oregon in January, you may have seen me furiously writing notes in an attempt to learn as much as possible (I’ve gone through 5 notebooks this year!). Similarly, at IMIrJ we are learning how to grow into our state-wide identity.
In the midst of ICE raids, policies that decimate our asylum system, white supremacist rallies, and a lot of moments of heartbreak I’ve found hope in sitting together with others in our IMIrJ community, knowing we are committed to making Oregon a model for the country we want to see. I have deeply appreciated being reminded of our resilience while worshiping in different faith communities across the state.
Together, we’ve made significant strides. We helped pass a bill that expands who can obtain a Driver’s License to include undocumented members of our community and a bill that helps fund case management for refugees in Oregon. We expanded legal representation for immigrants and updated Oregon’s hate crimes bill. Just this month, we secured a rule that prevents ICE from arresting people in Courthouses. This year faith communities showed up for justice.
As we look at 2020 we know the presidential election will be filled with language and actions that dehumanize immigrant communities. We also know that no matter how much planning we do there will be moments we'll have to respond to which we can’t plan for. If you are able, please consider helping sustain our work during those unexpected times through a one-time or recurring donation.
As you begin meeting in teams to celebrate, mourn, and reflect on your congregational work please also take time to fill out our Congregational Stewardship Form for 2020. We use this form to ensure we have current contact information for all members. This is especially important when a rapid response situation emerges and it also informs our planning so we can properly support you.
As I reflect on the past year, I want to thank you for your support and grace as we live into our power together.
Alaide Vilchis Ibarra