March Forth for Justice: Interfaith Immigration Justice Conference and Social Witness Weekend
The Unitarian Universalist Council of Greater Cincinnati (UUCGC), comprising six UU congregations, is planning a major conference on Immigration Issues for March 3, 2012 at the Sharonville Convention Center in Cincinnati. Over a dozen faith communities and community organizations are listed as co-sponsors.
Phoenix UU minister Reverend Susan Frederick-Gray will keynote, presenting information about developments nationally and especially in Arizona, which has been at the forefront of the national immigration debate. The US Supreme Court has announced that it will hear appeals related to the Arizona Immigration law in April.
Titled March Forth for Justice, the conference is seen as the highlight of a weekend devoted to immigration issues. The conference itself will occur on Saturday, March 3, in the Sharonville Convention Center, north of Cincinnati. Sermon topics that weekend at all area UU congregations, and at many other supporting and cosponsoring houses of worship, will focus on immigration.
The conference schedule will include three learning tracks, allowing participants to build their own programs. 27 different speakers will provide information on a wide range of related topics including the Dream Act, Human Trafficking, Economic Realities, and Politics and Law. Confirmed speakers to date include Mike Corradini of Physicians for Human Rights and Dayton (OH) City Manager Tim Riordan, several local immigrants and immigration justice professionals. Corradini will discuss the legal changes that helped develop the situation we currently face and the forces that supported these. Riordan will present the Dayton “Immigrant Friendly Plan” which he hopes will be copied by charter municipalities across Ohio and elsewhere.
Representatives of local cosponsoring organizations will be on hand to discuss their services to the immigrant community.
The conference registration is free of charge and the UUCGC is asking those who can to make a generous donation to help cover the costs. Registrants will pay only $20 to cover the costs of the conference luncheon, which includes the Keynote Address.
On the afternoon of March 4, organizers plan a “March for the Dream Act” rally at the Friendship Park on the Cincinnati Riverfront, between Sawyer Point and the Montgomery Inn Boathouse at 3:00 pm. The “Dream Act” is a proposed federal law that would make it possible for individuals brought to the United States in infancy or childhood to follow a shorter, well-defined path to citizenship. Many “dreamers” have no memory of any home other than the USA and speak English as a native language. 2010 US census figures indicate that most “dreamers” are the oldest children in households that represent one of the fastest growing population groups in the United States. This means that they tend to have younger siblings who, having been born in the states, are US citizens who will be eligible to vote as soon as they turn 18.
Reverend Frederick-Gray will offer brief remarks, along with a few other speakers. Dream Act petitions will be available for signature.