Leadership Toolkit #5 – December Issue

Leadership Toolkit, December 2012 edition
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Update on the LIRS-LCMS End Human Trafficking Now campaign

Update on the LIRS-LCMS End Human Trafficking Now campaignHuman trafficking is one of the most heinous and destructive crimes in America. That is why LIRS is partnering with the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS) to educate the public and advocate for justice through our LIRS End Human Trafficking campaign.

Human trafficking is prevalent in all 50 U.S. states and reaches everywhere from sprawling cities to rural communities. It can involve not only prostitution of children as young as 12 or 13, but also appalling instances of forced child labor. The number of convicted cases of trafficking into the United Sates has more than tripled over the past ten years, but domestic trafficking is becoming more common as well. Visit our campaign page for more human trafficking education tools such as our e-learning module, fact sheet, and resource lists.

In an effort to bring human trafficking to the forefront of our national conversation and focus, LIRS is partnering with the LCMS to launch a sign-on letter campaign urging the newly re-elected president to make human trafficking a priority in the next year. Through our collective action we can make our voice heard and make a difference in the fight against human trafficking.

Human trafficking is one of our country’s darkest secrets, and it continues to thrive because it can hide in the shadows. We urge you to join us as we shine the spotlight on trafficking in the United States and come together to End Human Trafficking!

Call for immigration reform op-eds in local newspapers

ELCA YouthWriting op-eds for newspapers is one of the best ways to build support for policies and communities that welcome immigrants and refugees. You can make a difference by working with LIRS to write your own piece of this kind.

To get an idea of the sort of writing that can strengthen our work, you can check out Bishop Julian Gordy’s “Laws Causing Latino Exodus,” which was published on September 28 in the Montgomery Advertiser, the newspaper of record in Alabama’s capital. His piece is part of an op-ed campaign that grew out of this summer’s Lutheran Immigration Leadership Summit (LILS) in the Twin Cities. Bishop Gordy’s commentary was followed by Rev. Paul L. Lubold’s October 19 op-ed in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “Stop Jailing So Many Immigrants.”

Please check out their defense of immigrant rights and leave a comment – they need visible support to sway public opinion and convince the newspapers that covering this topic wins them readers. Also, please be on the lookout – five other LILS leaders have op-eds in the works.

Anyone who’s interested in writing on some aspect of immigrant reform can shoot an email to Jon Pattee, LIRS Assistant Director for Media Relations, at jpattee@lirs.org. He’ll be glad to discuss your idea and how it might be received by newsroom editors. If the idea works, he can set you up with facts and data, and even help draft the op-ed if you’d like.

If each pastor and community leader who believes in standing for welcome takes part, we can defend migrants in the national media, reach hundreds of thousands of readers, and begin to turn the tide of public opinion.

Celebration of the MD DREAM Act’s passage

Celebration of the MD DREAM Act's passageThis past November, Marylanders came together at the polls and definitively announced that they believe in equal opportunity in education for all, including undocumented youth. Question 4, the Maryland DREAM Act, passed by a wide margin, affirming that a growing majority of Americans believe legislation like the DREAM Act is fair and just. The MD DREAM Act will provide in-state tuition at Maryland colleges to certain undocumented students.

LIRS’s manager for the MD DREAM Act campaign, Folabi Olagbaju, mobilized Maryland Lutherans to vote “for” on Question 4 in this historic referendum. Thank you and congratulations to Folabi and everyone at LIRS and our partners who worked so hard to advocate for the MD DREAM Act. This is truly a victory for Maryland and the whole country.

The fight for a just immigration system is far from over, though, and LIRS is calling for community leaders to use the momentum from the Maryland victory to press forward for comprehensive reform.

LIRS President and CEO Linda Hartke said, “Americans want to resolve our immigration issues once and for all, and move forward based on shared values of fairness and opportunity. The Maryland victory is one of the many reasons to believe in renewed opportunities to achieve comprehensive immigration reform based on those values.”

As we enter the 113th Congress, it’s clear that bipartisan action is needed to reflect the emerging national support for comprehensive immigration reform. As we celebrate this historic win for the MD DREAM Act, we hope that Maryland will serve as an example for how standing for welcome is the right thing to do economically, legally, and morally.

Invitation to host a Stand for Welcome Sunday

Invitation to host a Stand for Welcome Sunday With the debate surrounding immigration reform growing louder each day, the moment couldn’t be better to stand for welcome in your community, state, and country through facilitating conversations and action supporting humane immigration policies. In fact, there couldn’t be a more critical time to engage your congregation is such a conversation. And because the wisest action grows out of dialogue and understanding, all of these conversations are good preparation to make your voice heard by your elected representatives.

Over this past fall, churches all over the country have committed to host Stand for Welcome Sundays in their congregations. For these Sundays, LIRS provides bible studies and service guides to help you facilitate dialogue and further understanding on the topic of immigration. Stand for Welcome Sundays are also a wonderful way to engage your community in the advocacy process, making sure that your congregation’s voice is heard.

Be sure to check out all of the tools you need to host a Stand for Welcome Sunday. When you do hold an event or take an action, please let us know. We’d love to see photos, videos, and testimonies from your experience so that we can lift up your work to Congress and remind them that Lutherans care about newcomers. You can email us at dc@lirs.org.

Information on our Community Support as an Alternative to Detention Grant

Information on our Community Support as an Alternative to Detention GrantLIRS is pleased to announce in conjunction with Presbyterian Disaster Assistance a new grant to finance programs that use community support as an alternative to immigration detention. Every day, over 33,000 immigrants are held in detention, where many are traumatized as they are held in prison, and where many are lacking basic legal and healthcare services. In addition to being morally reprehensible, our detention system is also fiscally irresponsible, as over $2 billion was spent on detention in the fiscal year 2012. Learn more about alternatives to detention.

The purpose of the grant is to serve and respect the human rights of those who have been released from detention and are in removal proceedings by providing them core services, including legal, housing, and case management services.

The length of the proposed projects should be from January 1st 2013 to the end of the year. Applications are due by December 16th. If your organization or someone you know is interested in this project, be sure to apply today.