Dubuque, IA 52001 872.215.1948; firstname.lastname@example.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Young Nuns to Pray For Immigration Reform at the U.S./Mexico Border and around the Nation
Dubuque, Iowa (September 17, 2016) - Members of Giving Voice, a community of Catholic sisters under age 50, and the next generation of women religious, stand in solidarity with the U.S./Mexico Border Convergence witness occurring October 7 to 10 in Nogales, Arizona, and Nogales, Mexico. Several sisters will journey to the border and encourage compassionate national conversations and effective political action on the topic of immigration and much needed reform that protects human dignity and family unification. Additionally, other members of Giving Voice will host prayer services in solidarity with the Border Convergence in convents found in cities throughout the nation, such as in Fargo, North Dakota and San Antonio, Texas.
Sister of Charity Tracy Kemme, 30, currently ministers at a Cincinnati parish with a large Guatemalan immigrant population and helps coordinate the diocesan Immigration Task Force. Having worked previously with immigrants near El Paso, Texas, she will attend the Border Convergence and believes that “it is way past time our country commits to finally fixing a broken immigration system which leaves individuals and families vulnerable. We need comprehensive reform now!”
As part of the program for the Border Convergence, Giving Voice will host an encuentro for sisters and others as part of the weekend’s programming. This opportunity will create space for participants to reflect and pray together about our experiences working with immigrants and advocating for immigration reform. Giving Voice invites and encourages other Sisters and partners to join us at the border and assist us in sponsoring needed dialogue and action.
Catholic sisters who are attending the Border Convergence are invited to join the Encuentro on Saturday, October 8 from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. at the Kino Border Initiative Soup Kitchen, Periférico Luis Donaldo Colosio # 55, Nogales, Mexico. At this “Encuentro de Hermanas,” sisters will share about their ministries, learn how they can collaborate around immigration issues and pray together. Those interested in the encuentro can contact Sister Tracy Kemme, SC, at email@example.com for more information.
Giving Voice’s presence at the School of Americas Watch-sponsored event and prayer services around the country will:
Advocate for compassionate, comprehensive immigration reform, and
Honor the human dignity of all of our brothers and sisters.
Giving Voice is an inter-congregational peer-led organization for women religious under the age of 50. Giving Voice sisters are from several different congregations of women religious throughout North America. These “young nuns” are often times the youngest members of their religious orders. Members center their lives on living the Gospel and live communally while being committed to service and social justice. Many of the sisters serve in the trenches with immigrants and refugees most impacted by the outdated and unjust policies.
The goals of the Border Convergence program are to expose the root causes of immigration, end the U.S. intervention in the Americas, resist border militarization, and engage in non-violent direct action, education, art and culture. The Convergence is sponsored by School of Americas Watch (SOAW), the organization that has previously hosted November protests at the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC), a combat training school for Latin American soldiers, located at Fort Benning, Georgia.
Pope Francis and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) are advocates for immigration reform, insistent upon the biblical call to welcome immigrants and treat all humanely.
Thousands of Catholic women religious worldwide (sisters and nuns) serve in ministries on the margins which seek to provide safe spaces and compassionate community to those victimized by violence.
Catholic Social Teaching makes it clear all Catholics are to stand in solidarity with the most vulnerable and speak out against inhumane treatment, violence, and other atrocities.
The current immigration system in the U.S., for example, makes it difficult for at-risk people to experience safety and is a violation of one’s basic human dignity.
More than six thousand migrants died along the Southwestern border of the United States between 1998 and 2014. Deaths occur due to exposure, drowning, and car accidents and began as early as the Chinese Exclusion Act of 18821.
Over 27,000 unaccompanied children have been sized at the United States-Mexico border between October 2015-March 2016, a figure up by 78% since the previous year2.
Approximately 7% of school-age children in the United States had at least one unauthorized immigrant parent in 2012. Of these children nearly eight-in-ten were born in the US. This puts these children at risk of being separated from their families through the deportation of their parents.3
USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO AMPLIFY MESSAGE We need you to help amplify our message! If you’re unable to be present on the border, take to social media and press the need for justice around issues of human dignity. Using platforms like Facebook, Twitter and others, spread the message that these issues are important to you.
Giving Voice on Facebook: @giving.voice.sisters
Giving Voice on Twitter: @Young_Nuns
Post articles and message on Facebook. Be sure to share others’ updates and stories, too! Use the hashtag #GivingVoice & #ConvergenceAtTheBorder to tag your messages of justice. We’ll be monitoring these tags and sharing!
Tweet on Twitter using the hashtags above. Retweeting others’ tweets and posting short quotes work great! Again, we’ll be monitoring these tags and retweeting!
If you use other social media platforms (e.g., Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc.) feel free to post there, too.
When posting messages images such as photos, cartoons, and other visuals get the most attention.
Like letters to the editor, keep it short. Social media is not conducive to lengthy posts. Keep posts between 100-250 characters for more interaction and visibility.
Ask folks to share things (it’s ok to be direct!). You might say, “This is a great article I wrote, please read and share.” Or, “I really liked this story, share it for others to enjoy.”
Some sample messages:
- #GivingVoice is in solidarity with those at the #ConvergenceAtTheBorder
- We are opposing #militarization at the #ConvergenceAtTheBorder
- Check out these #GivingVoice sisters giving witness at the #ConvergenceAtTheBorder: [link]
- This is a fantastic article about the #RootCauses of migration at the #ConvergenceAtTheBorder [link]
- I stand with these brave #Catholic sisters giving witness at the #ConvergenceAtTheBorder
Click here http://www.soaw.org/border/seven-steps-to-local-media-coverage/ for tips about how to engage media in your area and invite them to do a story about your prayerful solidarity with the Border Convergence.
Update the press release included in this media kit with contact information and quotes from the local organizers of the prayer service. Add statistics and narrative about the ways that unjust immigration policies have hurt families and the community in your area. Communicate with the local press before and after the Border Convergence and your prayer service.
Write a Letter to the Editor to your local media expressing your prayerful solidarity with the Border Convergence. Indicate that you are praying in order to lift up compassionate national conversations and effective political action, advocate for compassionate, comprehensive immigration reform, and honor the human dignity of all of our brothers and sisters. Or, update the sample Letter to the Editor included in this Media Kit for your local newspaper. Submit the newspaper the last week of September or the first week of October.
Hold your Border Convergence solidarity prayer service in a public place such as a church, chapel, park, or outside the local federal offices. Hold up signs and banners with slogans such as “Stop Separating Families,” “No Human Being is Illegal,” “Compassionate Immigration Reform NOW,” “Justice for Immigrants,” “One Nation Under God,” and “We Pray in Solidarity with the Border Convergence.”
Take pictures while you are getting ready for your prayer service and upload them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and SnapChat. Invite folks to attend your prayer service and label the photos with the hashtags: #ConvergenceAtTheBorder #GivingVoice #Prayer #Solidarity #ImmigrationReformNow
Any Giving Voice sisters who received Giving Voice T-shirts to wear should take a picture of themselves during the prayer service they are hosting. Please post the pictures on social media and include the following caption:
#GivingVoice Catholic sisters pray in solidarity with the #ConvergenceAtTheBorder Oct.7-10. www.soaw/border
Other communities and organizations are also invited to post pictures of their prayer services on social media using the same hashtags.
Share and re-post photos, videos, articles, etc. from other groups in order to show your connection with others throughout the country who are also praying in solidarity with the Border Convergence.
Record a video of your prayer service and share it online using Facebook Live or another social media channel.
How to load your prayer service on Facebook Live:
Using your smart phone, open your Facebook app.
Respond to “Allow Facebook to record audio?” by clicking “Allow.”
Make sure the phone is arranged in place where the audio and video will be recorded clearly.
Type text to label your video in place of “Describe your live video” using the label: “We pray with GivingVoice Catholic sisters in solidarity with the #ConvergenceAtTheBorder”
Click “Go Live.”
After you are done recording click “Finish.”
SAMPLE LETTER TO THE EDITOR For general tips on writing a letter to the editor click these resources: http://fcnl.org/issues/immigration/fcnl_letterstotheeditor_toolkit_for_immigration_reform/ http://www.witnessforpeace.org/article.php?id=520
Dear Editor [Use specific name and/or media outlet here]:
[Intro sentence connecting your letter to a recent article about immigration, if applicable]. From October 7-10, 2016 thousands of people will gather on both sides of the border at the Nogales, Mexico and Nogales, Arizona border to advocate for comprehensive and compassionate immigration reform. The border convergence will highlight U.S. Foreign policy as one of the root causes of migration, and stage protests and nonviolent direct action against racism, xenophobia and U.S. militarization at home and aboard.
Although I am not traveling to the border convergence, I will be praying in solidarity with those who will be protesting at the border along with others in our community. Our prayer service is open to the public and will be [insert date/time/address]. The prayer service, created by the organization Giving Voice, will include readings from Scripture that reveal the Biblical mandate to welcome immigrants. Giving Voice is an inter-congregational peer-led organization for women religious under the age of 50. Giving Voice sisters are from several different congregations of women religious throughout North America. These “young nuns” are often times the youngest members of their religious orders. Members center their lives on living the Gospel and live communally while being committed to service and social justice. Many of the sisters serve in the trenches with immigrants and refugees most impacted by the outdated and unjust policies.
I am also concerned about our nation’s outdated and unjust immigration policies. [Add a sentence summarizing a specific experience about how the current immigration policies have negatively impacted you or those you work with and/or add a statistic from the talking points listed above.] I hope and pray that the border convergence and our prayerful solidarity will lift up compassionate national conversations and effective political action regarding immigration reform, especially during this season of political campaigns.
We have a human responsibility to protect the rights and human dignity of the most vulnerable persons in our community. Please pray with me that our nation will enact policies that help immigrant families stay together and experience the peace and justice that we are blessed with as American citizens.