Monday, August 13, 2007

August 14 Nashville Day of Action

Nashville, TN. -- Several Nashville justice advocacy groups and more
than 200 United Methodist Women members will join forces for public
actions against poverty, protection of immigrant rights and support for
dignity, respect, and fairness for all workers at several locations
around the city on Aug. 14, 1-2 p.m. The Aug. 14 day of action will
include three public vigils, all from 1-2 p.m.

Interfaith Vigil for Workers
Benton Chapel, Vanderbilt Divinity School,
(On 21st Ave and Scarritt Place, across the Street from Starbucks)
Contact: Megan Macaraeg, Vanderbilt Community Alliance

Vigil to Stop the Immigration Raids in Columbia
Tennessee State Capitol at the War Memorial Plaza
(Union and 6th Avenue)
Contact: Ariel Safdie, Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition
615-833-0384 x19

Vigil to Stop the Violence of Poverty
Riverfront Park
(1st Avenue and Broadway)
Contact: Matt Leber, Nashville Homeless Power Project,
Gary Bright, 516-6875

The Vigil to Stop the Violence of Poverty will address one of the least
visible yet most destructive aspects of systemic violence in our
country—the oppression of poor and homeless people. Says Clemmie
Greenlee, of the Nashville Homeless Power Project, “On this day we will
gather to mourn the lives of those lost on the streets to systemic
violence.” Now an organizer for the Nashville Homeless Power Project,
grandmother of one, and “mother” to many in need, Clemmie knows
personally of the losses experienced by those on the streets. “We will
share memories of loved ones and commitments to change the systems of
power with clear and powerful action,” continued Ms. Greenlee.

Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) is working with
the United Methodist Women to hold a vigil for the immigrants who have
experienced fear and suffering due to the often unconstitutional
immigration raids in Columbia, Tenn. Columbia experienced the first of a
series of ICE raids on trailer park homes in May. Since then, more than
80 men, women, and children have been deported. “Raids such as those
that have taken place in Columbia tear families apart,” said David
Lubell, director of TIRRC. “The head of household is often taken into
custody in front of children and neighbors without any idea when they
will see each other again. This form of arrest and deportation leads to
immense fear in the community and people are not being treated with the
dignity they deserve.”

The Interfaith Vigil at Vanderbilt University will bring together more
than 30 different worship communities, and other community organizations
who will ask Nashville’s broader community to enter into a covenant to
support dignity, respect, and fairness for all workers.” Says Jamie
Kopetz, Vanderbilt Divinity Student with Interfaith Worker Justice,
“while Vanderbilt University, the community, and workers came
together to make some significant changes for workers at Vanderbilt, we
know we need to continue moving forward.” Continued Ms. Kopetz, “One
Tennessee’s largest private employers can be a great example of leading
the way in this effort, and we are excited at the broad array of
community leaders who will be part of the process.”

United Methodist Women will be part of the faith community standing with
immigrant families, homeless persons and workers in the vigils. The
vigils coincide with United Methodist Women’s 2007, “For Christ’s Sake,
Turn the World Upside Down” National Seminar at Scarritt-Bennett Center
in Nashville, Aug. 11-16. The quadrennial event equips members to renew
their commitment to know God and to join in the local and global mission
of justice and advocacy. “National Seminar is an opportunity for members
of United Methodist Women to explore God’s actions in the current moment
and dialogue about how we must respond,” explained Sung-ok Lee, Women’s
Division executive for Christian social responsibility. “In a gathering
that reflects our rich diversity of race, ethnicity and age, we will
reflect on the early Christians who were accused of `turning the world
upside down’ in Acts. 17:19.”


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