This post was written by Melissa Fretwell last Wednesday night as a reflection of Love Wednesday. Come experience the surprise, messiness, tension and joy for yourself this Wednesday night at 7:00 pm at the RISE Mission House!
These are only a few words to describe tonight’s Love Wednesday. It was brought to our attention that a Block Party and a vigil would be held at Court Square.
Off we went with balloons. Cupcakes. Hats. Cards. To offer surprise parties!
Just a little more info …
Block Party: 230+ youth and 100+ adults hosting a Block Party as part
of a local Middle and High School Youth Mission Week. Cotton Candy.
Inflatables. Band. Etc.
Vigil for Cesar Rios: 28-year-old from Mexico with no criminal record who has been residing in Harrisonburg for five years. Scheduled to be deported this Friday from Farmville Detention Center for picking up a piece of firewood in a national forest.
Walking through the mass of the Block Party we arrived to find a lone man waiting for the vigil participants. Turns out it was the mayor! Along came Isabel. The face of the DREAM Act. Isabel spoke to the Sister2Sister ministry a few months back about her story. She arrived in the states as an undocumented individual with her mother when she was under 10. She earned a 4.0 high school GPA and graduated from EMU magna cum laude. However, she continues to be undocumented and thus cannot obtain a job. She is a gift!
We stood in the tension …
Of the excitement of the Block Party
The chaos of the vigil
The local radio station interviewing the mayor
Children walking through the area
Mike on his bike … we met him at Midnight Prayer
Kalia … We connected with through the shelter
We stood with cupcakes. Balloons. Hats. Cards.
All not really knowing what to do.
We found Cesar’s nephews. Why not? Let’s start this vigil with a little surprise. I assured them we were crazy and we wanted them to know they matter.
They are loved.
They are a gift.
The vigil began with a few words of introduction and then…“We have an announcement. A little over a hour ago Cesar was released.”
I wonder, “Was this what it was like on Palm Sunday?”
Some not knowing what to do.
Some in confusion.
Well, off we went to another party. Dixie at the Dollar Tree. Dixie drives over 45 minutes to work. She was covering for someone tonight. A few weeks back a RISE friend was in the Dollar Tree and it really was Dixie’s birthday … we are a little … “ish” on things. The smile on Dixie’s face was pure joy.
Off we went to a few other stops …
As I reflect upon this night … I want to thank those who were willing to give this night a chance.
I know it was messy.
I know it was uncomfortable.
I know it was confusion.
I know that you matter.
I know that Cesar matters.
I know that every person we meet matters.
I know that God longs for us to continue to be a movement that strives to live a lifestyle that believes everyone is a gift.
I’m sure we all have a lot of questions.
What is 287G (the law which drives the deportation)?
What is the DREAM Act (a bill that would allow people like Isabella a means towards citizenship)?
I don’t have a lot of answers…
A few local groups working hard on these issues are … Virginia Organizing and NewBridges!
What I know is that I’m transformed by the RISE community.
A community that is willing to reach out.
To be part of supporting each other.
THANK YOU for journeying with me …