by Rev. Liz Steinhauser, Senior Director of Youth Programs, St. Stephen's Boston
On Saturday December 3, nearly 300 people--including many Episcopalians from St. Stephen's Boston and other partners of Episcopal City Mission--gathered near Downtown Crossing to show their support for immigrants and immigrant rights. The #SalsaShutDown action was organized by Cosecha, a movement fighting for permanent protection, dignity, and respect for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. The SalsaShutDown action was a kickoff of the MigrantBoycott effort which will demonstrate the economic power of immigrants, both as workers and consumers in the United States. But mostly today was about the joy of dancing and bringing some of that energy to the holiday shopping scene.
The day began in Sproat Hall at the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts with a reflection led by the Rev. Marisa Egerstrom, a member of ECM's Executive Committee. She showed the early-arriving Episcopalians how political action is also spiritual action. Together, we linked the efforts of Cosecha with the story of Advent and the ways in which Mary and Joseph were also migrants in their homeland, facing oppression under the powers of the Roman Empire. Then, we all received salsa dancing lessons and practiced our steps before exiting in small groups to gather at local stores to show off our newly developed dance skills. All of this was to bring attention to immigrant rights and protection, especially as we face uncertainty of how federal policies may change under a new administration.
For the Episcopalians who were part of the action, it felt like we were taking well-organized steps (to a salsa beat) toward building the Kingdom of God.