Immigration Justice: Youth Border Advocacy

Immigration Justice: Youth Border Advocacy

Crowdfunding Completed: March 1, 2018

Amount Funded: $3070

Project Owner: Unitarian Universalist Society of Schenectady

Short Description of Project

Youth will travel to the US-Mexico border to deepen understanding of borders, migration, social justice, and advocacy.

How was this project connected to UU?

Our Project Claims Unitarian Universalism

Our Unitarian Universalist Society of Schenectady mission statement is: “Connecting in spiritual community, we celebrate life with joy, grow in compassion, and create justice.” As Unitarian Universalists, we embrace this mission as we celebrate the worth and dignity of every person. The Unitarian Universalist Association has worked for immigration justice since the early 1960s. Some of the UUA resolutions have included: 1. All people—without regard to immigration status—deserve access to fair wages, education, housing, healthcare, and other social services; and 2. Immigrants are at high risk for being denied basic rights and services and thus warrant our special support.

We adhere to the words of Lilla Watson, who said, “If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” It is in this frame of mind we go, not to “help,” but to join with thousands of Unitarian Universalist (and other) voices over the years who have demanded justice for our immigrant siblings.

Our Project Is Claimed by Unitarian Universalism

This project is organized by the youth and adult members of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Schenectady. We have a long and rich history of Social Justice Action and Advocacy in our congregation and youth programs. It is by putting our faith and principles into action (walking our talk) that we nurture our spiritual growth and serve the cause of global justice. The social justice journey is one of the ways we teach our youth and adults how to be advocates for positive change in our communities as well as the greater global community of which we are all a part.

Full Description of Project

In partnership with the Unitarian Universalist College of Social Justice, a youth/adult delegation from the Unitarian Universalist Society of Schenectady, NY, is going to work with Borderlinks in the Arizona-Sonora region. We are making this journey to deepen our understanding of borders, migration, and social justice through this experiential learning opportunity that explores the difficulties of migration and life along the U.S./Mexico border.

BorderLinks has the following mission: “Through dynamic educational experiences, BorderLinks connects divided communities, raises awareness about the impact of the border and immigration policies, and inspires action for social transformation.”

While fundraising, we will grapple with the following questions: Why do people migrate? What happens during the migrant journey? How do policies impact people? We will be participating in programs that are designed to challenge and confront the policies and circumstances that lead to migration. We will also walk the desert trails to understand the strenuous journey that migrants experience while attempting to cross the U.S./Mexico border. We look forward to meeting many community organizers and local advocates who are working to create economic and social justice, both in the borderlands and beyond.

We will focus on the voices and experiences of undocumented people and on migrant communities fighting for justice as a way to highlight the work they are doing, work which often is not accessible or portrayed in mainstream media or the dominant narrative in this country. We are determined to bear witness to these people and communities and to become better advocates for immigration justice. We hope to better our organizing skills so that we may commit to greater advocacy once we return home.

We are committed to the philosophy that all may participate in the journey, regardless of a family’s financial status. This means we must do significant fundraising. We are hosting luncheons for our congregation, as well as many other fundraising events. We are hopeful that our Faithify goal will be funded and maybe even surpassed. Thank you for your support!