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Justice Prayers - September 22nd 2021

Illuminate the shadows, and comfort those cast down. Illuminate the shadows, be our refuge in the time of storm.  O God our help in time of trouble. - The Porters Gate 

Haitian Migrants Who Crossed Rio Grande Returned Home, Outraging Immigrant Advocates

The Biden administration is in the process of expelling some 12,000 mostly Haitian migrants and asylum seekers who have been camped under a bridge in Del Rio, Texas, after wading across the Rio Grande River from Mexico. US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said on Monday that 6,500 migrants and asylum seekers have been taken into custody in advance of processing and removal from the US. On Sunday, the first flights carrying migrants landed in Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince. DHS said the vast majority of the migrants will be expelled under Title 42, a health order from the previous administration that cites the coronavirus pandemic as a reason to quickly expel people seeking asylum at the US border, though advocates decry it as inhumane, not based on science, and a violation of the US’s own immigration laws. This comes after Haitian President Jovenel Moise was assassinated in July and a month later when a 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck, killing over 2,000 people and devastating the southern region of the country. 

We pray, O Lord, for those who flee from natural disaster and political turmoil. We pray for those seeking refuge amidst hardship, and for their journey along the way. We live in a world so constantly marked by strife, and by bureaucratic red tape that makes the inhumane decision the easiest one. Help us, Lord - each and every one of us, to imagine and advocate for complex solutions to impossibly complex problems, for in the complexity we find your grace.

Business as Usual a “Catastrophic Pathway”; UN Warns Climate Commitments Must be Stronger

If all countries meet their promised emissions cuts the global average temperature will rise 2.7 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by century’s end, a rise that is likely to worsen extreme wildfires, droughts and floods. The United Nations Secretary General António Guterres said the report shows “the world is on a catastrophic pathway.” Emissions of planet-warming gases are poised to grow by 16% during this decade compared with 2010 levels, even as the latest scientific research indicates that they need to decrease by at 25% by 2030 to avert the worst impacts of global warming.

It’s not enough, Lord. Our individual and collective efforts to stave off the worst impacts of our ecological devastation cannot be rendered mere efforts to do the bare minimum to ‘keep the party going.’ We need something new, Lord. A new way of being, drawn from the depths of what is old - both in practice and wisdom - may we enact a life of harm-reduction in all its forms.

Biden Administration Recommends Refugee Cap Increase to 125,000

The Department of State announced on Monday that the administration sent a report to Congress recommending that the limit be raised from 62,500 to 125,000 in the next fiscal year, which begins on October 1, 2021. The move comes as Washington is planning to resettle thousands of Afghans - 40,000 of whom have already arrived -  who fled their country after the Taliban takeover last month. Despite this, President Biden said in May that it would be difficult to resettle the maximum number of people that it allows. The President also dampened expectations for the next fiscal year, saying it “will still be hard to hit” the 125,000 limit due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For your beloved, O God, I pray. I pray for their hopes, and their dreams. Their fears, and their expectations. For their new homes, and their old homes. We pray for all the people, and places, and emotions that make the transition to the U.S. one of being torn being worlds. And God, we pray for welcome, in all its forms.


Prime Minister & Liberal Party Win Re-Election, Fail to Gain Majority in Parliament

Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, will continue in office after being re-elected Monday evening, but has not won a hoped-for majority in a snap election and the preliminary, though not final, results suggest the new House of Commons will be composed in a similar manner to the old one. Trudeau called the snap election in mid-August, barely two years into his minority government, betting he could capitalize on his handling of the pandemic to win a majority. Trudeau, however, fell short of his target of winning the necessary 170 seats to form a majority government.

Boldly we pray for good governance, O God. In a world so marked by corruption, greed, and the disregard of the poor, we pray for governance across Canada marked by a commitment to fiscal responsibility, caring for the poor among us, protecting the environment, ensuring the liberties of the citizenry, and acting responsibly as a global neighbor.

Becoming (part of) the Answer to our Own Prayers

National Truth and Reconciliation Day

 September 30th 2021 marks the first National Day of Truth and Reconciliation in Canada.  It coincides with Orange Shirt Day, a grassroots commemoration marked by the wearing of Orange Shirts for children forced to leave their families and attend residential schools.  Participate in a guided reflection for this day through the Do Justice podcast.  

How to Call Your Michigan Senators about a Pathway to Citizenship

Our OSJ Fellow Karolyn DeKam walks you through the process of calling your Michigan Senators about prioritizing a pathway to citizenship for farmworkers, other essential workers, and people with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS).  Watch this video today! 


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