Stephen Colbert suggested that the best Father's Day present we could give our fathers this year was to call our Senators and Representatives and demand an end to the cruel practice of separating children from their parents at the border. (www.cbs.com/shows/the-late-show-with-stephen-colbert/video/nGLHPcmI8LhqGejRSjTOd5WL8tdtU4hm/jeff-sessions-cites-the-bible-in-separating-children-from-parents/)
For me, this is a perfect Father's Day gift for my father. He is the one who taught me to be an activist.
As a pastor, he spoke out against corruption and injustice. I remember when I was in first through fifth grade, he wrote letters to the editor calling for an end to the corruption of the town police department. We had homeless families staying with us from time to time as well.
In high school when we had moved to northern NYS (almost Canada) be began a refugee ministry at the church he pastored. This was back when Canada closed its borders to refugees seeking asylum. Refugees could present themselves at the border, schedule a hearing date and then had to wait in the US for that date. Our small city was the place they usually ended up.
My father worked with the members of the congregation to create a living space in the church basement. We housed many refugees as they awaited their hearings. Listening to their stories was one of the most memorably transformative times in my young life. It sparked deep activism in me.
Social justice work is taught by our actions more than any other way. My dad instilled in me a powerful sense of activism by his actions.
So for Father's Day I honored him by contacting my Senators and Representatives.
Then I took it a step further. I attended a rally the following day (Monday) morning in support of an undocumented man seeking a visa. He had applied previously for asylum. His children were citizens. His wife was deported on Mother's Day. On Father's Day he feared being separated from his children.
I held a sign high standing as a witness demanding justice just like my dad taught me to.
I am ever grateful for the lessons he taught me by his actions. I hope to continue to honor him as I continue to demand that #FamiliesBelongTogether.
Pastor Jocelyn Emerson weaves together her training as a Light and Energy worker, Reiki master, spiritual director, and Pastor with her life experience as a mystic and contemplative to offer a space of trust, safety, and honesty to support you on your life's journey.