Episcopal Diocese of Rochester
Joy in Christ, as a way of life

Holiday Postcard Campaign 2009 - Start Planning early

Throughout this year you and many others committed to comprehensive immigration reform have been praying, meeting with Members of Congress, lifting up immigrants’ stories, and organizing others to raise their voices in support. Your work has helped to keep immigration reform on the agenda of the Obama Administration and Congress. We know that President Obama and his Administration are supportive of comprehensive immigration reform, and we have many allies in Congress, but we also know that they cannot and will not pass humane immigration reform unless we continue to raise our voices and organize.

 

The coming holiday season, when many of us will spend time with our families, will be an important time to remind Members of Congress of the urgent need for immigration reform that will help put immigrant families back together.

 

For some of us, the Christmas story of a young couple seeking shelter, a child born into poverty, and a family forced to migrate is a call to see God in every struggling family and every child crying for his mother. For others, the Hanukkah story of a lamp’s flame miraculously burning for eight nights is a reminder that God provides light in the midst of darkness. For many immigrant families, these are dark times of fear and anxiety, and our faiths call us to shine the light of compassion and justice in the midst of the darkness.

 

The Holiday Postcard Campaign The Episcopal Church is joining the Interfaith Immigration Coalition postcard campaign, with a simple message for Members of Congress this Holiday season:

 

Help keep immigrant families together by supporting comprehensive immigration reform now.

 

You can help us collect 10,000 signed postcards over the Holiday months, and send a strong message to Congress that people faith want to see action on comprehensive immigration reform.

 

Your participation in the Holiday Postcard campaign will help us remind Members of Congress that our broken immigration system is hurting immigrant families, and needs to be reformed now. It can also bring the important work of doing justice into the weekly worship life of your community.

 

Here’s how to get started:

 

1. Let us know that you’re interested in participating, and we’ll send postcards to you at no cost. We encourage you to have each person fill out three postcards—one for each of their two U.S. Senators, and one for their Representative—so estimate how many participants you’ll have, and multiply that number by three to request an adequate number of postcards.

 

2. Think about how you can incorporate the postcard campaign into your community’s weekly services, classes or other activities. Publicize the postcard campaign through your community’s newsletter, calendar, website and blog.

 

3. Make the postcards available over several weeks, and work with the leaders in your faith community to lift up the campaign through special prayers or presentations during your service, or an educational session before or after services.

 

4. Set up writing stations with plenty of postcards and pens, and information sheets with the names and addresses of your Members of Congress and a map of congressional districts in your area – these can be found at www.nationalatlas.gov/printable/congress.html . Remember to ask each person to fill out postcards for each of their two U.S. Senators, and one for their Representative. You might also provide talking points to help participants add their own message to the postcard.

 

5. At the end of your designated collection period, be sure to thank all who participated, announce how many postcards you’ve collected, and tell people where the postcards are going next. You might also ask your faith leader to bless the postcards and the messages they hold during a service.

 

Once you’ve collected a nice, tall stack of postcards, here’s what you should do with them:

 

1. Call the local office of each of your members of Congress and schedule an appointment with the member or the staff person whose portfolio includes immigration issues. Invite other members of your faith community or other immigrant advocates to go with you to the meeting, deliver the postcards, and emphasize in person the heart of the messages written on those postcards: people of faith care about immigrant families and support comprehensive immigration reform that will help put families back together again.

 

OR

 

2. Send your stack of postcards back to us by Monday, January 4, 2010. Each of the members of the Interfaith Immigration Coalition will collect postcards from their local networks through January, then in early January we’ll pool all of the returns, sort them according to their destination, and schedule meetings with all the relevant Members of Congress. We’ll also hold a press event before we deliver the postcards to highlight all the work of faith groups around the country and their deep commitment to comprehensive immigration reform.

 

Please DO NOT send your postcards, either individually or in packets, to your Senators’ or Representatives’ DC offices—because of increased security measures, mail can be delayed up to two weeks from the time it arrives in DC. Our goal is to send a strong, unified message of support for immigrant families and for immigration reform, and delivering the postcards in-person, within a tight time-frame, helps us do that.

 

To request postcards for your community, please contact me. We can also help you create talking points, prayers, or other resources for your postcard campaign—just ask!

 

Thank for you helping us shine a light of hope for immigrant families this Holiday Season.