When I was younger, a Lutheran going to church in the 70's and 80's, we did all sorts of social justice and charity projects throughout the year: collecting food, going on walks to raise money, donating our old clothes, singing at nursing homes. I remember December as a time when we really ramped up our efforts.
And it wasn't just my church group. We did all sorts of good deeds as Girl Scouts and through the schools too.
Even when I came home as a college student, there was a project or two that needed help; the one I remember most is creating gift baskets for women in battered women's shelter, and I remember being amazed that such a place existed.
Yesterday I did a very different social justice project for the holidays.
Yesterday at my church, we wrote cards for women and children held at detention centers. You might argue that we shouldn't do that; you might argue that they are in the country illegally. You might argue that they don't deserve a card or any shred of kindness.
I would counter that just because we were born in a country that has a stable government and a decentish record when it comes to human rights, that doesn't mean that we achieved that status because of our worth. No, we're lucky. And history and literature show us that luck can change rather suddenly and drastically.
And so we wrote cards.
We wrote cards in the hopes that those cards will bring a bit of Christmas cheer. We wrote the messages in Spanish. I found myself wishing we could do more, but hopefully, it will be a bit of light in the darkness.
If you want to participate it's not too late--but you will need to mail the cards by Tuesday, Dec. 9. You can send the cards to:
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
Access to Justice
700 Light Street
Baltimore, MD 21230
If you need a greeting, here's my favorite:
Deseandole un ano lleno de paz, salud, y amor. It means "Wishing you a year filled with peace, health, and love."
We had a number of children participating. It gave us a chance to talk about the issue. I wonder what they will remember when they are older and taking part in social justice projects of the future.
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