My family and I are lucky enough to be a part of some wonderful communities here in Portland, all within easy walking distance. One is centered on the public school our daughter attends (Reiche), which is packed full of caring, committed teachers. Another is our few blocks of the Parkside neighborhood, which includes a potpourri of young families, older professionals and retired folks.

Two others are some of the most vibrant, welcoming places in town: Sacred Heart Church on Mellon Street and Holy Trinity Orthodox Church on the corner of Park and Pleasant streets. On any given Sunday, at either of these places, you can try your hand at many languages, from Kirundi to Amharic to Georgian; you can hear music from several centuries and continents; you can sample wonderful foods from around the world; and you can share stories with friends.

Or rather, you used to be able to do these things. Thanks to the policies of the Trump administration, many parishioners are staying home. They are afraid to go to work, where immigration officials lie in wait for them.

They are also scared to go to church. Recently, Sacred Heart has been unable to collect the money it needs to keep its doors open, despite serving hundreds of people from all over the world and all walks of life.

We need to protect all our citizens, not just the rich ones or the white ones. Immigrants contribute so much to our daily life and culture. Let’s spread “throughout the world,” as Pope Francis has said, “a culture of acceptance and solidarity, in which no one is seen as useless, out of place or disposable.” Patriarch Bartholomew agrees: “We must work together, irrespective of religious conviction, racial origin and professional discipline. Our efforts will remain meaningless and fruitless if they remain fragmented and isolated.”

Anastasia Antonacos


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