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December 19, 2014

Compassion on Campus: Immigrant Students at UCLA

authenticityOne of the blessings and challenges we encounter in campus ministry is the opportunity to engage students in real world events and their impact on family, study and faith.

Immigration reform is one such area that we have been actively involved in at Wesley Foundation Serving UCLA. The recent administrative action by President Obama was a much anticipated and talked about event. Over 60 students gathered on campus to view the announcement. It was a difficult scene to take in.

Tears, frustration and anger, along with relief and concern swept through the group. It was a holy moment, to be part of the sorrow and joy, to listen to the voices of fear and grief, and to share the frustration and concerns voiced.`

Two of our WFSUCLA students wrote a position paper, originally published in The Daily Bruin, in response to President Obama’s action. It is thought provoking and provides information to guide us further in our work to keep families together.

Our presence was important as we stood in solidarity with students and families impacted by these new actions. Our work within the 580 Cafe and Wesley Foundation, as well as the California-Pacific Conference and The United Methodist Church, in advocating for strong and just immigration reform is a spark of hope and light.

As we live into our call to be witnesses for God’s compassion and justice in this season of Advent and the promise of joy at Christmas, our presence in these spaces, where light is dim and hope is hard to see, is crucial to building justice in our communities. May we learn from those most impacted by these decisions, and continue to stand with and by immigrant families, people and students.

Wesley Foundation UCLA as a Cal-Pac Campus Ministry connects congregations and the campus community to learn and grow together, to inspire the world as passionate followers of Jesus Christ so all may experience God’s life-giving love.

By Rev. Jeanne Roe Smith, Cal-Pac Campus Minister