Yesterday was the date that protections were slated to expire for DACA recipients and Dreamers. Court injunctions have delayed, for now, the prospect that thousands of these courageous young people would start being detained and deported this week, but their lives and residential status remain in grave danger (as outlined here and here).
In the context of DACA, the ending of Temporary Protective Status for tens of thousands, the massive increase of ICE raids, the Muslim Ban 3.0, and other related issues, we honor the efforts that many grassroots communities are doing as part of the new sanctuary movement. Our friends at AFSC have provided important leadership with their Sanctuary Everywhere program. Building on that theme, FOR member Rev. Michael Harrington, the founder of Occupy Faith, is offering a continuing series of “Sanctuary Everywhere” liturgical resources for praying and acting on sanctuary, gun violence, and related justice issues. FOR is publishing these through our blog: the latest offering is last week’s “A Liturgy for the Time of Uncertainty” that is rooted in the Christian Lenten season.
FOR has just moved from our national headquarters of the past 60 years. As of this week, FOR’s administrative staff are no longer based in Nyack NY at the “Shadowcliff” property we occupied since 1957. Our team is now located 15 minutes north of Nyack, in nearby Haverstraw NY, on a Rockland Community College campus. Our mailing address will remain Box 271, Nyack NY 10960. We have just begun publishing a series of reflections on our blog about the legacy of Shadowcliff by past FOR staff and other members. (You may submit your own reflections via email to communications [at] forusa.org or by posting them to our Facebook page.)
The Vietnam Peace Commemoration Committeehas published a worship resource to help local communities of faith commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March 16, 1968 massacre of civilians in My Lai, Vietnam. “A Penitential Opportunity” was prepared & edited by FOR member Rev. Ken Sehested (editor of Prayer and Politiks), who writes, “Permission is granted to use any part of this material (with attribution, when appropriate) for your own use, adding your own material as you see fit, to host a special service of commemoration or to incorporate this commemoration into a regularly scheduled service.” VPCC is also sponsoring a noontime vigil on March 16 in Lafayette Square, across from the White House.
On April 4 our nation will observe the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In support of the commemorative programs that many of your communities will hold, FOR has once again endorsed the Freedom Seder initiative prepared by The Shalom Center. This year’s iteration calls us “To reawaken and renew the prophetic wisdom of Dr. King during Holy Week and Passover in this 50th year.”
Longtime FOR ally Rabbi Arthur Waskow, the creator of this effort in 1969, describes the newest “MLK+50 Interfaith Freedom Seder” resource as rooted in Dr. King’s 1967 “Beyond Vietnam” speech framework — in which the “giant triplets” of racism, militarism, and extreme materialism were endangering America and necessitating a “radical revolution of values.” This year’s Freedom Seder, writes Rabbi Waskow, “is shaped by devoting three of the traditional Four Cups of the Seder to opposing and transcending those triplets, and devoting the fourth cup to opposing and transcending their ‘quadruplet’ — sexism and the subjugation of women.”
Tomorrow I will drive several hours to Koinonia Farm in southern Georgia to join hundreds of spiritually-rooted justice activists at the “Building Up a New World” symposium. As we continue building a path together toward this spring’s 40 Days of Moral Resistance coordinated by the new Poor People’s Campaign, I am looking forward to seeing FOR members and friends at this special gathering inspired by the legacies of Vincent Harding, Clarence Jordan, and many others. Thanks to everyone for the inspiration and encouragement you give to this work each and every day!