The Civil Rights for Immigrants Campaign (CRI) team hosted watch parties for Gamaliel leaders during both the Democratic National Convention and the Republican National Convention. We watched as a number of politicians laid out their vision for the next four years in this country.
Now the conventions are over, and the hard work begins—getting people turned out to vote in the midst of the pandemic and shifting the narrative of what is possible through the ballot box!
The first mail-in ballots will be sent out by some states next week, nearly two months ahead of the election. With the challenges the U.S. Postal Service is facing, however, it is critical that we begin now urging the folks in our communities to complete those ballots and get them in quickly to ensure that their votes are counted by their state’s submission deadline. (More on creating plans to vote and addressing obstacles in a future eblast . . . .)
The hardest work we face, though, is shifting the narrative of what is possible in this country through the electoral process. For too long the dominant narrative has told us that we live in a post-racial society, that big corporations are the job creators, that government is bad, that our circumstances are of our own, individual making—that narrative has shaped our national and local policies and even our interactions with one another.
COVID-19 has provided us with another lens for viewing our country and its policies. Against the backdrop of the pandemic, this nation is experiencing an extraordinary moment of pain, especially black and brown Americans and immigrants who are living at the intersection of three crises—police violence, crushing unemployment, and the deadliest infectious disease threat in a century—that have laid bare the fragility of our democracy, the predatory nature of our economy, the precarious condition of our communities, and longstanding racial injustice.
As people of faith we must shift that narrative of what is possible in order to heal and transform our country! We are compelled to embrace the stranger among us. We are ordained to break through with the good news to the poor people; to proclaim freedom for the oppressed; to bring sight to the blind; to help those who have been grievously insulted to find dignity; and to proclaim and usher in God’s new era—the beloved community (Luke 4:18-19, adapted from Clarence Jordan, The Cotton Patch Gospel: Luke and Acts).
We must allow this narrative—a narrative of inclusion, dignity and respect, structural racial equity, participation, access to opportunity—to shape our engagement with people in the time leading up to the election AND afterward.
As leaders of the Gamaliel Civil Rights for Immigrants Campaign, we are more committed than ever to stand for the oppressed and the immigrants among us and will continue organizing our communities to vote and to seek inclusive, community-building solutions to the problems our communities face.
We can do this together!
Gamaliel Civil Rights for Immigrants Campaign Team