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Velvet Mesquite - Illustration by George Malesky
Velvet Mesquite
A Natural Symbol of Sustainable Peace

Culture of Peace Alliance (COPA)
~ promoting peace, justice, and sustainability

Community Conversations

COMMUNITY CONVERSATIONS PRESENTS:

WELCOMING THE IMMIGRANT: REFLECTIONS FROM OUR FAITH COMMUNITY

Thursday, October 25, 2012
6:30-8:45 pm
Catalina United Methodist Church
2700 E. Speedway Blvd. Room H230 (next to Treat Ave.)

Free buffet vegetarian meal offered
Donations welcomed

For more information please contact:
Sat Bir Kaur Khalsa email: khalsa@dakotacom.net or call 690.5715 home

Here are some notes about the upcoming program. When we examine the natural world we observe the migration of birds in the air, animals on the land, and fish and mammals in the waters, yet when humans migrate they encounter borders and restrictions, judgements and secrecy that can lead to their harm or death. Migration, diaspora: these have been woven into the history of many faith traditions and cultures... often with pain, often with honor and spiritual calling; throughout the world, throughout time and with specific cultural contexts. At this time there are specific tensions regarding undocumented workers: fear of a takeover by “hispanic” culture, stress that comes with job loss, economic problems and a frenzy about terrorists getting through a “leaky border”. There is a strong effort on the part of many, both conservative and liberal, to move to dialog that allows for fact-based civil discussion. In Community Conversations we hope to listen to each other, to learn more about each other and about the faith traditions we honor. In that sense we won't so much share facts about immigrants, but rather share the rich tapestry faith traditions can contribute to a dialog on welcoming immgrants, understanding the value of immigrants from a faith focus, and, hopefully, add some depth to an already articulate dialogue.

We will focus on the United States, a land of Migrants.If we look far enough back, even native peoples migrated to the land here. Although many of our ideals are of hope and yearning for opportunity, the deep harm of forced migration; of slavery and indentured servitude is also part of the foundation of our country. Despite the current great fear of difference, as a nation, many communities continue to challenge this history of fear and culture schism. Many people are willing to go outside their zones of comfort, to meet strangers and to open their hearts and work to change the climate so that the ideals can be lived with more reality.

Our current Mayor and Council adopted Resolution No. 21944 ...TO CONSIDER PROCLAIMING TUCSON AN “IMMIGRANT WELCOMING CITY” on August 7, 2012. This resolution has several sections relating to SB1070 and there are forums relating to the impact of these on our city, citizens and law enforcement already in place and planned. It is Section 6, ...“facilitating a community-wide dialogue withing and among all the interested sectors of the city to consider proclaiming Tucson an “Immigrant Welcoming City” that we will consider tonight. Tucson Mayor and Council consider Dayton, Ohio as a model city for their planning. See the report from Dayton, Ohio planning: for review.

While the intention of Community Conversations is not to “solve the problem” nor to find the “right answer&rdquo,” we welcomeall who are willing to listen to viewpoints from a variety of faith traditions. We use a circle process that allows for all participants to share their thoughts and concerns, at least briefly, depending on how many of us join the conversation. If you are not familiar with circle process, there will be a brief instruction from a trained facilitator, who will also guide the process. Please join the conversation.


2012 is the seventh year of programs for Community Conversations. Programs run from January to May, break for summer and run in September and October, held monthly during those times. Community Conversations offers to bring people together to share a vegetarian meal, listen to insights from a variety of faith traditions and ask questions that provoke peaceful dialogue. Utilizing a format that presents a theme at each program, discussion explores a variety of topics ranging from "The Golden Rule", our inaugural program, to “Strangers in My House: How Can Faith Be More Than A Welcome Mat?”. In this program we tackled the complex issues relating to immigration, the spiritual ideal of hospitality, and how do people of faith go beyond lip service to this ideal? A complete list of themes appears at the end.

Since most of the conflict in the world invokes religion as a justification for violence. These Community Conversations are an opportunity to invoke a sense of community, responsibility, and healing for participants. Our gatherings range from 20 to 55 participants. Feedback indicates that participants enjoy the depth, variety and honesty of conversation. Invited faith leaders and participants alike say that this is the best program of this type they have attended. We are an inclusive program, welcoming feedback and suggestions.

The Planning Committee is always open to new members. We only meet once per month. We thrive due to the generosity of volunteers, including the panelists. We do not charge for the programs, but do appreciate donations. Want to join the Community Conversations e-list, obtain more information about the program or make suggestions? Contact Sat Bir Kaur Khalsa at khalsa@u.arizona.edu or call 690-5715.

Currently a project of TMFA (Tucson Multi-Faith Alliance and COPA (Culture of Peace Alliance), our 2008-9 sponsors include Catalina UMC, Friends Society (Quakers), Gandhi Restaurant, Human Relations Commission Tucson, IRCSA (Inter-Religious Council of So. AZ), JCRC (Jewish Community Relations Council), Dana Lim (Allstate), Roman Catholic Diocese, St. Matthew's Episcopal Church, Sikh Dharma Tucson, Sisters of the Heart, Lusia Slomkowska, Temple Emanu-El Rabbi's Discretionary Fund, and numerous anonymous donors.

Community Conversations Programs from May 2006

"The Golden Rule" May 2006

Dealing with Prejudice - A Multi Faith Challenge June 2006

A Community Conversation Death and Dying and Beyond: Multi-Faith Perspectives June 2006

"Strangers in My House: How Can Faith Be More Than A Welcome Mat?" Dialogue with a Multi-Faith Panel August 2006

"Sowing Justice, Harvesting Peace" Dialogue with a Multi-Faith Panel September 2006

Gender Orientation: Scriptures, Traditions, and Today October 2006

Food: Practicing Faith at the Table: An Evening Sharing Food and Prayers from Different Faiths November 2006

"We Still Have a Dream: Dr. King, Non-violence, and the 21st Century" January 2007

Asceticism and Sensuality: Responding to Passion: A Multi-Faith Discussion February 2007

The Mystical Experience: Shout Out, Be in Silence, Spirit Overflows: A Multi-Faith Discussion March 2007

The Spring of Life: Body and Soul Renewal: A Multi-Faith Discussion April 2007

Treading with Grace: A Multi-Faith Conversation about Mother Earth and Stewardship May 2007

Desert Days & Desert Nights: Blessings and Extremes June 2007

Freedom: A Multi-Faith Conversation July 2007

Generations: A Multi-Faith Conversation Across the Generation Gap September 2007

In honor of National Recovery Month: Coming Home: Recovering Faith: A Multi-Faith Conversation October 2007

Dr. King: Theology for Peace: A Multi-Faith Conversation January 2008

Longing to Belong: The Search for a Place in Your Faith: A Multi-Faith Conversation February 2008

It is in giving that we receive: A Multi-Faith Conversation March 2008

Sustaining Faith: Stewardship at Peace with the Earth A Multi-Faith Conversation April 2008

A 3 Year Celebration: Reflections, Challenges, and Vision May 2008

World Music Concert: Dya Singh and Company September 2008

Youth and Peace: Raising a Generation of Nonviolent Warriors October 2008

Food: Practicing Faith at the Table:

An Evening Sharing Food and Prayers from Different Faiths November 2008

How Can Peace Change the World? A Tribute to Dr. Marting Luther King, Jr. January 2009

Sustaining Faith: Stewardship at Peace with the Earth\b0 \b A Multi-Faith Conversation April 2009

3 Year Celebration: Reflections, Challenges and Vision May 2009

Dya Singh World Music Group: A Benefit Concert sponsored by Sikh Dharma Tucson September 2008

Youth and Peace: Raising a Generation of Nonviolent Warriors October 2009