WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 14, 2012) – The American Project launched a national campaign to treat immigrants with more compassion and dignity at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., on June 22-24, 2012. The youth-led project will be faith-based and leverage social media to create a grass roots movement. The event was entitled “Immigration: An Issue of Human Dignity,” and began Friday, June 22nd at 9:00 a.m. with the official program starting at 10:00 a.m. The event concluded on Sunday morning, June 24th with a prayer service for America’s immigrants. Hundreds of youth from across the United States attended and received leadership and advocacy training by experts to empower them to make an impact in their own communities. The effort is also a tribute to the 50-year anniversary of Cesar Chavez’s United Farm Workers movement.
The American Project was founded by Cardinal Roger Mahony, who worked alongside Cesar Chavez in California, Father Daniel Groody, CSC of Notre Dame, and Antonio Tijerino. It is an effort to empower youth of all faiths and ethnicities to change the discourse on immigration to a more compassionate and productive one based on the Biblical passage: "You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt" (Dt. 10:19).
“As a Christian, there are no prior commitments that can overrule or trump this Biblical tradition of compassion for the stranger, the alien, and the worker,” said Cardinal Mahony. “Whatever economic, political, or social policies we discuss—and whatever discussion of constitutional rights and liberties may take place—we cannot turn our backs on this Biblical legacy of hope and the consequent Gospel imperative to show compassion to our immigrant brothers and sisters.”
The event brought together nationally-recognized civil rights, immigration and faith leaders in addition to the youth leaders. Members of Congress and senior Congressional staff also provided the latest analysis on comprehensive immigration reform legislation. The media is invited to attend.
Over the course of the 3-day summit, attendees ran through a series of workshops covering grassroots organizing, faith-based engagement, coalition building, social media and on-line communications as well as an analysis of existing immigration-related legislation. These workshops are designed to provoke creativity and an exchange of ideas on how to better deal with America’s immigration situation. The students will be connected beyond the event through social media to support each other, share best practices and gauge the impact of the effort. It is expected that at the conclusion, the attendees will have collaborated to design and lead their own local initiatives which will help alter the conversation around immigration reform to one that highlights our shared belief in humanity and brotherly love.
Students can register for this free conference by visiting: http://bit.ly/JzuWMa.
The American Project is presented through a generous sponsorship from the University of Notre Dame and friends of the American Project.
Contact: Francella Chinchilla at Fchinchilla@RabenGroup.com or directly at 202-587-4944