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Letter: Look at immigration through a 'gospel lens'

By Lisa Kremer, Project Coordinator, Familias Juntas, Worthington

In the past few days, there have been several opinions expressed about our premiere event for the documentary “Abrazos” June 20 here in Worthington. The discussion, unfortunately, hasn’t been so much about the content of the film as who was and who wasn’t in attendance at the premiere.

Our organization, “Familias Juntas” (Families Together) is very grateful for all those who were able to be there to celebrate with us. We don’t stand in judgment of anyone who wasn’t present. There were many other activities going on, and we realize that the topic of the film is one that brings varying opinions and sometimes strong feelings. One of the greatest rights we have in this country is the right to express our opinions, and we uphold that right as we do the rights of all citizens of this country.

Our intention is not to further polarize the issue, but to encourage people to look at it differently — not from the perspective of the media, or politics, the misinformed or those with an agenda. As a faith-based organization, we prefer looking at this through a “Gospel lens,” specifically our Christian duty to ‘welcome the stranger.”

The film brings the real stories and lives of our immigrants themselves, and their stories are worth listening to and considering. The immigrants in the film are from Guatemala, but they could be from anyplace. They tell of the struggles of immigrants that are timeless. It is about family connections, about the bonds between children and grandparents, siblings, and parents and children.It is a very human story — one that we can all relate to on some level.

We believe that in the midst of all the rhetoric surrounding immigration, the immigrants should also be heard. We would encourage those who were not able to attend the premiere to see “Abrazos.” It is a beautiful film that will not necessarily answer questions or offer solutions; in fact, it may raise more questions than it answers. But it is a testimony to those who have come here hoping for a better life.

We know that the fact that many are here without proper documentation is a point that causes frustration and resentment, but it’s important that before we judge we understand what they come from and why, and also understand that the choices they have made have not been easy ones for them. We hope that after people see the film we can discuss these issues more respectfully and with deeper compassion.

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