This past week, the Nuns on the Bus national tour made stops in Durham and Charlotte to raise awareness about the need for just and humane immigration reform. In Durham, the Nuns visited the office of Church World Service, an amazing nonprofit that resettles refugees here in America. Sister Judy Best describes their visit here:
After an informative discussion with staff, we were invited to meet with [refugee] clients for five minutes at a time, using a script to begin a conversation and practice English. One of my partners was a beautiful 16-year-old girl from Iraq. Our conversation began awkwardly, and then I realized she understood English well. At a certain point, the electricity between us created a spark. I saw in her such potential. She shared her hopes to become a dentist and go to medical school. She knows Arabic, Korean, and English. Nor has such gifts to bring to the community of Durham.
After their visit, they held a brief press conference to explain why the U.S. so desperately needs comprehensive immigration reform. I was proud to stand with my brothers and sisters, including many from local Catholic parishes, in support of both the Sisters and the cause.
After driving across the state on Friday afternoon, the Nuns held an evening event at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Charlotte. On Saturday morning, they held a faith-business-community roundtable conversation to show how our country’s broken immigration system is causing great harm to families, churches, and local businesses. From the Charlotte Observer:
Charlotte immigration attorney Cynthia Aziz said she knows of a Mexican worker who, for 19 years, has followed the law, has worked seasonally for a North Carolina farmer and travels back and forth from Mexico to support his family.
“Where’s the family unity there?” she asked. “That’s a broken piece of our system we need to look at.”
Sister Rose Marie Tresp, a Sister of Mercy in Belmont, called on local Catholics to learn what the faith teaches about immigration. “Many people in our pews haven’t heard it,” she said.
From Charlotte, the Nuns are continuing their journey down through the Southeast and then across to the U.S.-Mexico border and up through California. At each stop they are committed to pitching in to volunteer with the community, listening to the stories of those most affected by immigration policy, and rallying support for humane immigration reform. You can track their progress here: nunsonthebus.com.
— Meghan Blickman (@MMBlickman) May 31, 2013
-Chris Liu-Beers, Program Associate