Responding Proportionally to What's at Stake by Cicia Lee

My family left China when I was 3 and made a twenty five year plan to immigrate to the United States, with hopes of finding economic opportunity and freedom. This break, I sat with my parents and a few family friends for Christmas, other immigrant families we’ve loosely adopted as our own in the absence of blood relatives, and saw starkly again some of the tradeoffs our had parents made. I saw in many of the faces around the table immense courage and loneliness.

I wondered, did my parents know what it would be like to leave their homes without ever returning for over a decade? Where was their vast store of resilience that helped them survive after they left every person they had known behind, all of the streets and foods and cultural cues they had spent their lives learning, to pursue some wisps of a dream? Did they know before moving across the world, how opaque and agonizingly slow the immigration bureaucracies would be? Were they afraid of what would happen if we couldn’t make it?

I'm fortunate now to have documents and be able to work in this country and live with relatively little fear that my family will be deported. And though the election and consequent upheavals in our political terrain have not changed my family’s legal risk, I feel viscerally how much is at stake.

And the stakes are very high. We can’t begin to fathom what the first 100 days of a Trump Administration might look like, the brutish displays of nationalist force that may be on display, the recklessness with which the new Congress might gut any civil protections - for immigrants or for any marginally vulnerable community.

The church has been for the majority of my life the place where I have wrestled with what is most true and what is the most urgent call, and where I have learned to listen and discern the work of God in our world. The church was also one of the first and earliest places I found community and safety and love - among the people, and within the physical walls.

I feel the ripeness of the time for the church as shelter and sanctuary to respond proportionally to what is at stake. It is time to declare the transformational change we need, and as much as we will always need personal transformation and interpersonal reconciliation, I feel the work of God flowing as an immense stream that I am eager to be a part of, and that I am eager for our church to be a part of. We will need, in this crucial time, for everyone to take responsibility for igniting resistance in their own communities, to act as strongholds, protection for the most vulnerable, and as prophetic sanctuary. We need our churches to take this responsibility.

I first heard about Cosecha at a Momentum training, and felt for the first time like someone was taking responsibility to speak what was really at stake, and to also say what we might need to sacrifice to make possible the transformational change we need. And I felt convinced, seeing their strategy of massive noncooperation, their kind of organizing to build to that scale, and their incredibly loving and supportive relational culture, that they would do it. It has been a great honor to work with them through Momentum recently, and to get to know their organizers as dear friends.

I am excited about their work at CosechaFe and on the Sanctuary Congregation campaign because they are providing the vision and a bold new path for organizing in our faith traditions. I invite you to come witness the immense force and love of this movement, and to join in any way that you can, with the commitment and sacrifice that you may be called to. The stakes are high, and it’s time.