February 3, 2021: A Message From The Notre Dame Sisters Social Justice Coordinator

Sr. Mary Kay Meagher

February: SEND Your Valentines now!

Valentine Day reminds us of our love and care for one another.  Mothers & Others: Justice and Mercy for Immigrants (located in Omaha, NE) is launching a sending of Valentines to President Biden, elected legislators, friends, family, and colleagues with a message to effect immigration reform, especially to end detention and family separation, a cause of severe suffering of desperate people who came to our country for help.

Notre Dame Sisters (as part of Leadership Conference of Women Religious Nebraska and the Immigration Committee in Omaha) is joining in this effort.  We encourage and invite you to join us by adding to your Valentine’s list:  your elected legislators, friends, family, and colleagues. It might be a great Valentine’s project for children, classes and families who cannot tolerate the thought of families being forcibly separated.

Hoping to capture the attention of elected officials and others, we suggest hand-written and addressed messages.  Cards may be copied, personalized, or a simple written note on a card might be your preference. But electronic messages work well also.

Thank you for all you do to support immigrants. We are stronger together!

What are Mothers & Others?

A Group of spiritually based activists

Mission Statement:

  • To advocate with and for all immigrants: those seeking asylum and citizenship for a better future for these families.
  • To be a public voice on the plight, treatment, and conditions of immigrants.
  • To educate, challenge and to seek the common good as we act in support of immigrants

How was this group birthed?

Remember July 18, 2019 when Capitol Police arrested 70 people in the Capitol Rotunda including a 90-year-old nun, as demonstrators gathered to protest the Trump immigration policies? Arrests came as tensions flared on Capitol Hill surrounding the immigration debate, including allegations of massive overcrowding, unsanitary environment, children in cages and other immoral conditions at U.S. Border Patrol facilities.

Meanwhile back here in Omaha many outraged individuals and groups wanted to join and support the protest; some specifically supported two local volunteers (S. Kathleen Erickson and Carol Windum) to join the protest. Off by train to DC they went.

Initial Response

Upon their return, outrage, and horror increased among Omahans as they learned more details. Informal discussions ensued identifying the local dearth of awareness and attention of the immigration issues. Upon their return we asked why can’t we bring this to attention in Omaha?   What could be done here in Omaha? How about an awakening through awareness?

A loosely formed group of some 15-20 people from across the metro area formed a committee to protest by increasing awareness.  Concretely, a trafficked corner (72nd and Hickory) was chosen to gather with posters, banners, and signs to witness every Thursday morning from 8-9 am –an open invitation.  Over the summer months the groups fluctuated in numbers but sustained a deep commitment.

This grass roots efforts evolved over the summer because of a core group which led to the formation of an open committee to continue discussion, support, and expansion.  The first organized action was sending Christmas cards, but we faced the dilemma of how to sign the cards.  We were not named. It was then we took up the task of specifically identifying our mission and formulation of a mission statement and named ourselves: Mothers & Others.

Advocacy/Actions/Collaboration

In early 2020 some basic organization pieces emerged: formally connecting and collaborating with other groups which focus on Immigration issues.  A Facebook page opened to a larger audience, a bank account established for donations to support activities such as investing in more weathered protected signage and designing a Logo.

In a future Blog, learn about Mothers & Others’ efforts in Advocacy, Collaboration/Action, Communication, and how you can join our efforts.  In the meantime, call Sr. Mary Kay Meagher at mmeagher@notredamesisters.org for immediate information.