When it comes to the debate about immigration, one of the most challenging aspects for people of faith is the way that immigrants are so often portrayed very negatively. From mainstream media to radio talk show hosts to political ads, immigrants are depicted over and over as criminals, gang members, and drunk drivers – basically, as people to be feared. These negative stereotypes tend to create fear and hinder progress when it comes to fixing our nation’s broken immigration system.
There are several ways that you can stand up against these negative images. One way is to get to know immigrants on a personal level. For example, you can do this by sponsoring refugee families through your congregation. There are several great refugee resettlement organizations in NC, including Church World Service, USCRI, and World Relief.
Another way to make personal connections is to volunteer with a Latino or immigrant center in your area. Or explore local organizations whose work is all about forging strength out of diversity, like the International House in Charlotte and Faith Action International House in Greensboro.
Finally, you can help counter negative stereotypes about immigrants by checking out the work of Uniting NC – a new statewide nonprofit whose mission is to to make North Carolina a place that respects and values immigrants. This week, Uniting NC launched a campaign to put up billboards across North Carolina that promote a message of community and welcome for our new neighbors. Check out the images below, and click here to learn more.
-Chris Liu-Beers, Program Associate