February 19, 2017
President, United States of America
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President,
Greetings. This is the fourth week and third letter in my attempt to write to you every week of your Presidency. Obviously, I missed last week. Perhaps, I can explain why.
Last weekend, I participated in a local action with the Indianapolis Congregation Action Network (Indy CAN) in protest and counter to your Executive Orders regarding undocumented workers in the USA and travel ban on refugees from seven predominantly Muslim nations.
Over 1,500 concerned people of faith gathered in the gymnasium of St. Philip Neri Church, a Roman Catholic community, on the Near Eastside of Indianapolis--a community I serve as a pastor and in nonprofit leadership for community development. In that gathering, I stood with more than twenty clergy of Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and Sikh faiths to declare that our congregations will engage in actions of sanctuary when our immigrant neighbors are treated in any way that has been declared discriminatory or unconstitutional.
In that meeting, with an overflow of people in hallways and outside in the cold weather, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett spoke heartfully to our people of faith and declared that City of Indianapolis resources will not be used in any actions deemed to be contrary to the Constitution of the United States of America or discriminatory.
In that meeting, we heard testimonies from otherwise peaceful, fully contributing local immigrants who have already been mistreated, whose family members have been unlawfully deported, and who are living in fear because of your words and actions. One was a scientist and employee of Lilly Company, which employs thousands of international immigrants.
In follow-up to that meeting, I met with clergy to plan actions of sanctuary for our neighbors when your misguided plans directly impact them.
This is one reason I did not write to you last weekend. It was for a just and freedom-guarding reason. It sounds like you were pretty busy yourself, so I’m sure you won’t mind missing just one letter of dissent from a citizen.
John Franklin Hay