Shalom is situated in the borderlands of Arizona.
Migration issues are important to us. We realize the complexities of border policy and the interplay of law, economics, and the draw of economic necessity. We know well the profound brokenness of our immigration system.
Yet we cannot abide the degrading treatment of those who are migrants in the border lands, many of whom are our friends and neighbors, all of whom are our brothers and sisters in Christ.
We are members of the Sanctuary Movement as a supporting congregation. A group of us regularly writes letters to individuals in detention at Eloy Detention Center.
We commit ourselves to informing ourselves and the broader church on the realities of immigration, and to peace building within our community as we seek to heal the wounds caused by decades of fear and suspicion.
We work at immigration education and advocacy in a number of ways, both personally and corporately.
Immigration Education and Advocacy
Shalom provides space and conversation to Mennonite groups seeking to learn more of border issues. We have hosted groups from Eastern Mennonite University, Mennonite Your Way tours, Mennonite Central Committee, Mennonite Church USA, Mennonite congregations and many others. We also maintain contacts to local groups who work with immigration education, advocacy, and humanitarian assistance.
Mennonite Central Committee
Shalom partners with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), a relief organization of the Mennonite and other Anabaptist churches in building peace in the region. The West Coast region of MCC has an office in Tucson working with Trauma healing and peace building in the border region, a work that Shalom partners with. This initiative is designed to work together at healing the wounds of immigration policy and to work at improving conditions in border communities by strengthening the residents for collaboration and advocacy on their own behalf.
Shalom has a been a sponsoring congregation of the Migrant Trail since 2007.
The Migrant Trail is an annual memorial and protest march from Sasabe, Sonora to Tucson, Arizona, a walk of over 75 miles. The walk, sponsored and assembled by a broad coalition of advocacy and faith groups in the border lands, happens the last week of May. The walkers sample in a small way the difficulty of this crossing, walking openly with good support and adequate food and water. They bear the markers of those who also have walked and have experienced the hardship of the crossing. Walkers often carry crosses with the names of those who have died in the crossing.
Congregation members have often walked the trail through the years. The congregation has supported the walk providing food, prayer support, and in being a public voice at press events. We have also served as a logistical support for other Mennonite groups and individuals participating in the event.