Phoenix, AZ - Friendraiser

Our Evening in Phoenix

Written by: Sister Pat Murphy, RSM

June 12, 2013

Our evening session was held in Phoenix in the auditorium at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital. It was announced in the beginning that the venue was changed because of the number of responses. The auditorium held 200 people and every seat was filled.

Two Sisters of Mercy, Gaye Moorhead and Margaret Mary McBride, were the chairs of the event. Margaret did the welcome in the name of the West Midwest Community. Gaye introduced the Lutheran Bishop who gave the invocation and she also introduced Sr. Simone Campbell. Gaye was one of a lawyers’ group who critiqued Simone’s speech before the Democratic National Convention.

Sister Simone gave a brief history of the trip to date. She then introduced four of the “Nuns on the Bus” who were there to give their impressions and feelings as they listened to our immigrant sisters and brothers.

Sister Gail Young, the newest member, told her reason for coming on the trip. Gail works for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and is working very hard for comprehensive immigration reform. She came on the bus to meet the people telling their stories. Gail had each storyteller sign a t-shirt, which she is taking back to LA to pray for those who signed and to remember them each day.

Sister Marge Clark spoke of the evening we spent outside of Tucson with the Pascua Yaqui Nation. What impressed her most was the fact that the nation is split because of the wall. Some of the members live on one side of the fence and some live on the other. Families are separated and they are no longer one Yaqui Nation. Painful.

Sister Elaine Bettencourt spoke of her experience in Nogales this morning. Speakers who addressed us talked about the realities of the wall and its impact on families, the economy, and the fear that exists. One man desperate to feed his family was approached three times by a man trying to sell him food stamps. On the fourth time, he accepted the offer and bought food stamps from the man, who was undercover police. The man was arrested and deported.

Sister JoAnn Persch was the last speaker. She said that through her work in Chicago with people in detention, people being deported, the DREAMers who live in fear, the families torn apart – the pain is a palpable pain. On this trip she realized that pain is a reality throughout our country. In her visit to Senator Flake she met two young people who have DACA. One has a mother in deportation and the other’s mother was deported. We need reform NOW.

Sister Simone then told other stories. She reinforced the idea that it’s the 100% - immigration affects all of us. Simone then introduced the actions – filling out the cards, talking to family and friends, and texting to get information about calling your Senator. She said with much emphasis, “If we want to reclaim our country, we must begin talking to each other.” This is a crucial time – we live in a time of urgency. Call and write your Senators. NOW – the single most economically sound law would be to pass comprehensive immigration reform.