Dear neighbors with roots in Haiti, El Salvador and the many diverse countries of Africa,
We are glad you are here. You bring so many gifts to our community and our nation. You bring cultural traditions that enrich our society. You bring hard work and dedication that strengthens our economy. You bring hopes and dreams, creativity and compassion. Thank you.
Over the last few days, loud voices, led by the President of the United States, have spoken hateful, disparaging words about the places where you have roots. We wish we could dismiss them as the words of one individual with too much power. We know, though, that they reflect a very real strain of the history of our nation–a history marred by colonialism, slavery, racism and xenophobia. We know these words reflect a horrifying reality that racism and xenophobia are still alive and powerful today. It is a part of our history for which we need to repent; it is a current reality we need to change.
To the voices that speak hateful words, we say NO. This is not who we are as a nation. Your words are inaccurate, unjust, racist and wrong.
To you, our sisters and neighbors, our brothers and friends, our kin and colleagues, we say YES. Yes, we are glad you are here. Yes, we value the gifts you bring. Yes, we honor your yearning for security and opportunity. Yes, we stand with you. Yes, we will work together with you to weave the beautiful, multi-colored threads of our lives into a glorious tapestry of freedom and hope for everyone.
In hope and friendship,
Rev. Dr. Deborah L. Clark, Senior Pastor, Edwards Church, UCC in Framingham and Multi-Faith Coordinator, Open Spirit: A Place of Hope, Health & Harmony
Rev. Dr. Frances A. Bogle, Director, Community Chaplaincy Council and Just Peace Players