Bishop E. Roy Riley, of the New Jersey Synod of the ELCA, is the LIRS Board Chair and Executive Committee Chair. In a conversation during the summit he acknowledged the necessity for Lutheran leaders to gather in the nation’s capital on an annual basis and to be “relentless” in their efforts to work with political leaders to enact change.
Last week, First Trinity Lutheran Church in D.C held a candlelight vigil for young students organizing in favor of the DREAM Act. Organized by PICO National Network and United We DREAM the vigil brought together faith leaders and “dreamers”: young immigrants who came to this country as children and now, as they get ready to go off to college or serve in the military, find themselves denied the opportunity to live a full and productive life.
Seven years after her arrival we visited the Kpukumu household on a Sunday afternoon. Family members were bustling about in nervous excitement preparing for a festive family meal. Florie observed everything with the calm of an old matriarch. When we sat down to talk she explained to me why she shares the little she has with LIRS.
Today is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. LIRS has a special concern for persons with disabilities as a number of refugees that are resettled in the US have a disability. Currently this population has been struggling with even greater challenges. On October 1, 2010, close to three thousand elderly or permanently disabled refugees lost their major (or sole) source of income and face a bleak future. They rely on modest cash assistance called Supplemental Security Income (SSI) as their only source of income.
Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed by voice vote a revised version of the Help Haitian Adoptees Immediately to Integrate Act of 2010 (Help HAITI Act), bipartisan legislation that would provide permanency to over 1,000 Haitian orphans who were evacuated to the United States after the devastating January 12, 2010 earthquake and placed with American families.