National Plan in solidarity with young Latinos intimidated at Pilgrimage 2016

In an open letter to Stacy Guinto Salinas and the Hispanic/Latino youth group that was bullied during the Pilgrimage 2016 event last weekend in North Carolina, the Cabinet of the National Plan for the Development of Hispanic/Latino Ministries (NPHLM ) of The United Methodist Church (UMC), expressed its support and solidarity, as well as the commitment, to "put faith in action", to act as Christ in any circumstance that represents an attack on the dignity and integrity of the Hispanic/Latino community in and out of The United Methodist Church.

The following is the original text of the letter:

Dear Stacy,

The Committee on the National Plan for Hispanic Latino Ministries (NPHLM) during its meeting November 14-15, 2016 in Atlanta, GA expressed deep concern and support for you and the other Hispanic/Latinx young persons present at Pilgrimage 2016 held in Fayetteville, NC. The NPHLM Committee commends you for having the valor to speak on behalf of those affected by the acts of racism at the Pilgrimage 2016 event.

We stand with the vast majority of those present who publicly supported your witness at Pilgrimage. We stand in solidarity with you and the other Hispanic/Latinx young persons who were the recipients of bigotry and the racism present in these acts of bullying. We are grateful for youth leaders and ministers who led their students in deep reflection on Christian responses to discrimination, hate and bullying.

We dare not minimize or rationalize the intent of this behavior lest we excuse it diminish its impact on persons of intrinsic worth and their contribution to the common good. Some of the participants at event reacted to your courageous and prophetic call for justice and love by blaming you and the other Hispanic/Latinx youth for their actions. Blaming victims of racism is unacceptable and is inconsistent with the Social Principles of our church.

The hostile situation your group experienced is not becoming of the church we love. The reaction from some of its leadership was not either. Acts of intimidation and harassment against Hispanic/Latinx persons are acts against persons who are presumed to be powerless and voiceless.

We live in a world that often tells young women and minorities that you are powerless and voiceless. We are grateful for youth leaders and ministers who led their students in deep reflection on Christian responses to discrimination, hate and bullying.

This attitude and presumption is far from true. You refused to be intimidated or silenced even as you are being attacked now via social media and we applaud your courage in not submitting to these attacks and calling the church to stand by its commitment to respect the dignity of all people as children of God, made in God’s image.

We promise you and young people inside and outside the church who are victims of racial attacks, that we will be vigilant, we will boldly speak up, stand with you and support you.

As the National Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministry, we commit to put our faith into action. This is one way we seek to be the hands and feet of Christ. May we put feet to our prayers and be ready to stand with you.

Te amamos en el Señor y estaremos junto a ti como parte de la familia en la fe.

National Committee members,

Bishop Cynthia Harvey-Fierro

Bishop Elias Galvan

Rev. Ismael Ruiz-Millan

Rev. Francisco Cañas

Rev. Craig Nelson

Rev. DJ del Rosario

Rev. David Martinez

Rev. Malcolm Frazier

Bishop Ken Carter

Rev. Neal Christie

Raul Alegria

Delia Ramirez

Rev. Gustavo Vasquez

Manuel Padilla

Rev. Dan Dick

Leticia Damian

Bishop Sally Dyck

Bishop LaTrelle Easterling

Samuel Rodriguez

Laurie Day

Rev. Edwin Cotto

Rev. Lourdes Magalhaes

Rev. Mande Muyombo

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