Network of “Social Poets” Drives CLINIC’s Advocacy Work
In a recent address to the annual World Meeting of Popular Movements, Pope Francis coined the term “social poets” to describe those who work toward equality and justice for all of humanity. The address was a powerful message that made me feel such overwhelming gratitude, love and respect for CLINIC’s network of affiliates. The compassion and dedication that fuel our affiliates every day is both encouraging and inspiring.
“You are social poets, because you have the ability and the courage to create hope where there appears to be only waste and exclusion. Poetry means creativity, and you create hope. With your hands you know how to shape the dignity of each person, of families and of society as a whole, with land, housing, work, care, and community. Thank you, because your dedication speaks with an authority that can refute the silent and often polite denials to which you have been subjected, or to which so many of our brothers and sisters are subjected. But, thinking of you, I am convinced that your dedication is above all a proclamation of hope.”
In his message, Pope Francis quotes Mathew 5:6, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be satisfied.” We believe in the power of our network to strive for justice in each individual case they handle. We also believe in the power of the collective when CLINIC provides the opportunity to advocate for immigrants on a larger scale.
CLINIC, along with many other immigration organizations, has been fighting on behalf of immigrants on both the local and national levels for many years. Regardless of party or political affiliation, politicians and government officials must be held accountable for injustices being done and ineffective or harmful immigration policy. While individual affiliates may feel that large-scale advocacy efforts are impossible to accomplish, it is important to remember that you are not alone. CLINIC is here to serve as the tool to coordinate the advocacy goals of our network affiliates so these challenges can be met.
The current administration has felt the collective muscle of advocacy efforts many times over the past year. When change did not occur as promised, advocates rose up in solidarity with one another to proclaim their power. Stories were shared and letters were written. People gathered together and created joint efforts to make sure their voices were heard at the highest levels. This perseverance, such as by advocates in relation to the reinstatement of the “Migrant Protection Protocols,” proved to the government that immigration advocates would not back down.
That type of power only resides in the collective. The strength of one voice is amplified with each voice that adds to the chorus. In the coming months, we hope that you find renewed strength in knowing that CLINIC’s Advocacy team will be helping to empower your advocacy efforts and ensure your voice is heard on the issues that are most important to your organization.
In order to effectively advocate on behalf of our network, we need to fully understand the needs of the immigrants that are reaching out for assistance. Our network of affiliates see the struggles in the immigrant community first hand. You are in the best position to tell CLINIC what issues are causing the most immediate harm to the most vulnerable. This is the moment to become the voice for those whose concerns have too often been ignored.
You know how to show the face of true humanity, the humanity that is not built by turning your back on the suffering of those around you, but in the patient, committed and often even sorrowful recognition that the other person is my brother or sister (cf. Lk 10:25-37) and that his or her joys and hopes, griefs and anxieties are also mine (cf. Gaudium et spes, no. 1). To ignore those who have fallen is to ignore our own humanity that cries out in every brother and sister of ours.
In January 2022, CLINIC’s Advocacy team will take the combined voice of CLINIC affiliates to the next level with the launch of the CLINIC Action Network, or CAN. CAN is a two-way communication platform between CLINIC affiliates and the CLINIC Advocacy team to discuss advocacy topics and build advocacy skills. CLINIC’s Advocacy team will use the listserv to share sign-on opportunities, days of action, strategic communications resources and much more. Importantly, the listserv will also allow CLINIC affiliates to interact with each other and build advocacy ties.
Any CLINIC affiliates interested in raising their organization’s individual voices and engaging in advocacy collectively with the full CLINIC network are invited to join! Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, title and organization to join CAN!