Co-Sponsored by Clergy for Tolerance and the American Center for Outreach
The deadline has passed, and 30+ immigration bills either have been carried over from last year or introduced in the State House and Senate. Clergy for Tolerance is keeping a close eye on these bills (we’re up there for every committee meeting dealing with immigration), and you can find out more about them – including the full text, House and Senate sponsors, and the next date for action on these bills – by clicking here.
It is more important than ever that your voices are heard by State Legislators from both parties – they need to know that Tennessee’s clergy are aware of these bills, watching them, and are ready to engage.
That’s why we’ve scheduled the first ever Clergy Day on the Hill. It’s not for any one particular denomination or faith tradition, as those days already exist. Rather, it is a day for all of us, from all our traditions, to gather at the State Capitol and raise our voices together to say, “Not in our state!” We will not become another Alabama, where the voices of the clergy were not heard in earnest until after the legislation passed.
Remember Bishop Will Willimon’s comments at our breakfast last November:
“I’m sorry that those of us faith leaders in Alabama, with the exception of the Catholics, were slow to realize how nefarious this immigration legislation would be for us and for our state…[p]lease don’t leave these matters to your politicians. It has proven to be infinitely more difficult to speak against a law that has been duly constituted.”
Registration Time: 8-8:30 am, Tuesday, March 13, Downtown Presbyterian Church (see address below).
Training Time: 8:30-9:45 am, Downtown Presbyterian Church (see address below).
Meeting Times with Legislators: 10-3 pm, Legislative Plaza (by appointment only, 15 minute meetings - you will be given this information during the training time on Tuesday morning).
Meeting location for Tuesday morning: Downtown Presbyterian Church, 154 Fifth Avenue, North Nashville, TN 37219 in the Fellowship Hall (Come to the wooden doors to the fellowship hall on the 5th Ave Side of the building.
Parking: Please do not park in the Downtown Presbyterian parking lot. These spaces are needed for the staff. Instead, there are parking lots near the church. The one next door to the church is $8/day. You also can park in the Nashville Public Library garage for approximately $6-8, and there is a lot on the corner of Rosa Parks and Church for $6/day. Please get there as soon as you can - Tuesday is a "day on the Hill" for 5 organizations, so parking will be at a premium.
Breakfast: We will provide light breakfast fare (fruit, pastries, coffee, and water) at Downtown Presbyterian Church.
Lunch: 11-1 pm (in-between meetings and committee visits - come as you are able). Sonshine Soup Kitchen in Crossville, TN is donating the food and water for lunch, and a youth group from Coleman United Methodist Church are coming in to serve as a hospitality crew and have an experience of democracy in action. We are so thankful for the wonderful gesture and example of true hospitality! Lunch will be outside on the Legislative Plaza grounds near the fountain - look for a "Clergy for Tolerance" sign that will mark the lunch table.
Agenda: Please plan on being at Downtown Presbyterian by 8:30 am so we can start immediately go over the talking points and split you into your meeting groups. Each group will have a leader (termed a "Delegate") who has been trained on the talking points and how to talk to the legislators. Each group member will receive the talking points and have a time to meet in their groups to plan the meetings. The group leader will have a card with the appointment times and locations.
Free time: In your free time (in between meetings, lunch, etc.), we encourage you to talk a self-guided tour of the Capitol. We will provide you with these self-guided tours during our morning time together. We also encourage you to sit in on committee meetings as you have time. We will provide a list of committee meetings, topics, times, and locations for you so you can pop in as desired.
Snacks: There is a cafeteria in Legislative Plaza that sells coffee, tea, soft drinks, water, and snacks/food.
Assistance: One of the co-organizers will always be at the center of Legislative Plaza (inside) in front of the escalators. We will show you this location and you will be able to locate one of us in the event of questions or concerns.
Evaluation of the Day: Toward the end of next week, we will send you an evaluation request so you can let us know how the day went, what the legislators said, and what we can do to improve the event (as this is our first one!).
Questions before Tuesday? Email me, Kathy Chambers, at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will do my best to answer your questions.