Migration as Quest for Freedom

  February 9, 2018

Prayers for Reconciliation and Healing of Racism – 12:15 PM at Cathedral of St. John

Migration as Search for Freedom

Introduction and Questions for Reflection:

In the On Being interview with Isabel Wilkerson, author of The Warmth of Other Suns, Ms. Wilkerson says this about the her own history and the Great Migration, the movement of over six million African-Americans from the South to the North, Northeast and West of the United States during the years 1915 – 1970 which radically changed the face of America:

 

“I’m a daughter of two people who uprooted themselves from the old country of the South, from different states, and relocated and remade themselves in the new world, which was Washington D.C. for them. And in doing so, that meant that they were kind of leaving behind parts of themselves in order to take on this new persona.

I think that’s what migrants often do is they take on the identity of the new place that they hope will work out for them, no guarantees, a leap of faith into the unknown.  The Great Migration is not about migration, and really, probably no migration is about migration. It’s about freedom and how far people are willing to go to achieve it. This is the means that they feel they must take in order to find freedom wherever they can find it.”

 

As the national conversation about immigration policy continues, it seems appropriate to reflect on our own personal history regarding migration.  What do we know about our families’ migration stories?  What kind of freedom were our families seeking and in migration, were they able to achieve that freedom?  What structures supported or hindered that freedom?  What did our ancestors have to give up – what parts of our culture, way of life, values were “left behind” in order to achieve “success” in the New World?  Was it worth it? If not, what migration might we need to make today in order to reach the freedom we desire?

 

As we enter into this prayer today, let’s keep in mind all those in our country today who await policy that will determine their legal status and perhaps, their future.  May we hold their quest for freedom as our own.

Prayer for Centering

For all those who see “home” and all it means

disappear behind them;

For all those who cannot see a home in the days ahead of them;

 

For all those who dwell in Daily insecurity;

For all those who are weary and without a safe place to rest their heads;

For all families in migration we pray.

 

May the image of the Holy Family Fleeing oppression

Stay with us each night

As we are blessed with returning to a home.

 

May we also be blessed

With compassion for those Still weary, still seeking,

Still with so far to go. AMEN.

-by Jane Deren

 

Invitation to Silence
Freedom

Closing Prayer
The Coventry Litany of Reconciliation
All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
The hatred which divides nation from nation, race from race, class from class,
Father, forgive.
The covetous desires of people and nations to possess what is not their own,
Father, forgive.
The greed which exploits the work of human hands and lays waste the earth,
Father, forgive.
Our envy of the welfare and happiness of others,
Father, forgive.
Our indifference to the plight of the imprisoned, the homeless, the refugee,
Father, forgive.
The lust which dishonors the bodies of men, women and children,
Father, forgive.
The pride which leads us to trust in ourselves and not in God,
Father, forgive.
Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another,
as God in Christ forgave you.
Amen.

Weekly Reflection Questions/Invitation to Growth 

(refer to Isabel Wilkerson’s On Being interview: https://onbeing.org/programs/isabel-wilkerson-the-heart-is-the-last-frontier-jan2018/

 

Please consider the questions posed in today’s prayer and talk about them with a trusted family member or friend:
1. What do you know about your families’ migration stories?  What kind of freedom was your family seeking and in migration, were they able to achieve that freedom?

2. What structures supported or hindered that freedom?  What did our ancestors have to give up – what parts of our culture, way of life, values were “left behind” in order to achieve “success” in the New World?  Was it worth it? If not, what migration might we need to make today in order to reach the freedom we desire?

UPCOMING EVENTS
February, 2018: The Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist presents Celebrating Diversity, Black History Month, and the 50th Anniversary of the Open Housing Marches – Student Visual Art Works Exhibit in the Cathedral Treasury. Please see flyer for full details.

February 22, 6:30pm, Progressive Baptist Church: “The Hidden Impact of Segregation” by Reggie Jackson, Head Griot, America’s Black Holocaust Museum
https://www.facebook.com/events/1942700735995816/

February 26, 5:00pm, Tippecanoe Branch (Milwaukee Public Library), 3912 S Howell Ave.: “How We Got Here” by Reggie Jackson, Head Griot, America’s Black Holocaust Museumhttps://www.facebook.com/events/516048475460761/

February 27, 7:00pm, Jewish Museum Milwaukee, 1360 N Prospect: “Redlining, Racism and Reflection: Where from Here?” with multiple speakers, $8 https://www.facebook.com/events/355758451565067/

March 10, 2018, 5:15 PM – A Healing Mass for the City of Milwaukee, co-presided by Fr. Tim Kitzke, Vicar General for Urban Ministry and Fr. Mike Hammer, Archdiocesan AIDS Ministry https://www.facebook.com/events/723521561184996/

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