The Greater Macon religious community is hosting a discussion on immigration

Jayla Moody, Arts and Entertainment Editor

A group of local religious leaders and educators are hosting an interfaith discussion on immigration that is designed to attract people from all backgrounds, even those with no strong interest in politics.

On Feb. 13 at 7:30 p.m., students and community members can come to the President’s Dining Room and have a conversation about DACA, Dreamers and immigration.

The Immigration at the Crossroads–An Interfaith Discussion is sponsored by the Black Law Students Assoc., Hispanic Law Students Assoc., Mercer Immigration Law Interest Group, Mercer Law Democrats, Mercer Law Republicans, MGSU Gay-Straight Alliance, student groups

from Mercer University and Wesleyan, Middle Georgia Immigration Coalition, the Ga4Dreamers Coalition and Georgia Women (And Those Who Stand With Us).

“This will be a very different type of conversation,” said Mercer University Law Professor Mark Jones in a press release. “The goal of this program is to rise above ideology and politics to find a solution to the challenging immigration issues facing our country.”

Jones believes that now more than ever is the perfect time to have this conversation.

“This is a critical moment in the history of our nation with the future of 800,000 ‘Dreamers’ – including nearly 25,000 Georgians – on the line as Democrats and Republicans in Congress negotiate a spending bill that would also include permanent protection for DACA beneficiaries,” he said in a press release.

The students at the Mercer Law School said they’re looking for undergraduate students from all religious beliefs to participate in order to get a better understanding of the impacts of immigration to the Middle Georgia community and nationally.

“We also aim to provide information as to how to get involved and reach out to our senators and representatives,” said Jocelyn Calvillo, a Juris Doctorate Candidate at Mercer Law School.

At the event, the main issues of immigration will be discussed along with the religious themes. The discussion was strtegically planned on the evening before Ash Wednesday, according to the press release.

“[The event] ushers in the Christian season of Lent, a time of renewal and conversion with powerful analogs in Judaism and Islam.”

There will be testimonies from DACA recipients, a panel featuring perspectives of the three Abrahamic faith: Dr. David Gushee, Director of the Center for Theology and Public Life at Mercer University and interim pastor of First Baptist Church in Decatur will present the Christian perspective.

Rabbi Aaron Rubenstein from Congregation Sha’arey Israel in Macon will present the Jewish perspective.

Imam Adam Fofana from the Islamic Center of Middle Georgia in Centerville will present the Islamic perspective.

“At our interfaith forum on immigration, students will have the opportunity to hear first from fellow students who are in fact “Dreamers” and whose citizenship status hangs in the balance,” said David Gushee, distinguished university professor of christian ethics, in an email. “Then the teachings of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam will be considered in terms of what they say about immigration, strangers, and hospitality.”

Gushee said an open discussion will follow.

“It should be a timely conversation about an incredibly important and relevant issue,” he said.

The discussion will be moderated by Mercer University Associate Professor of Law Sarah Gerwig-Moore.

After the panel discussion, the audience will have a chance to participate in a question and answer session, followed by a short interfaith prayer vigil.

According to the press release, light refreshments will be provided and parking is available in the parking lots of the University Center.