United Valley Interfaith Project

Valley Insight is one of fifteen faith communities that make up the United Valley Interfaith Project (UVIP). UVIP concentrates on direct action across lines of religion, race, class, and geography by building collective power to influence decision-makers. Our current campaigns focus on immigrant rights and teaching the UVIP-created curriculum “Useful Tools for Aging with Dignity.”

Valley Insight’s 2019 Community Action (Micah) Award Honorees
Ceremony will be Sunday, October 27, 2 – 5 pm

The United Valley Interfaith Project (UVIP) holds an annual fundraiser and its Community Action (Micah) Awards ceremony to recognize and celebrate the important work being done in our regional community by volunteers who work for social, political, and economic justice. This year, VIMS is recognizing the lifetime of work done by Teresa and Jack Lyons. Their annual trips to Central America furthered medical students’ knowledge of the area. They have also been deeply involved for decades in many organizations that have been part of the network of opportunities in our region.

Terry Lyons is a member of the VIMS sangha, and her husband, Jack, is a parishioner at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Norwich.  Jack was a general and vascular surgeon at DHMC until he retired.

Terry spent her time raising their four children and working as a volunteer with several organizations: the Ford Sayre program, which teaches skiing, where she both attended and taught classes; at the Lebanon Training Center (a work center for developmentally delayed people); at WISE; and Project Begin (a school for emotionally disturbed children). Terry also worked on the Norwich Rummage sale once a year. After earning a Masters Degree in Special Education, she taught at the Marion Cross Elementary School in Norwich for a number of years.

After his surgical career and eight years of raspberry farming, Jack was recruited to teach anatomy at Dartmouth Medical School, which he did for fifteen years. For several years during that time, he and Terry took medical students to Guatemala for six weeks to study Spanish and to address the unique medical needs of Latin Americans. That program terminated when the situation in Guatemala deteriorated and it was no longer safe for them to be there. Later, they joined ACTS, a Community Development organization, and traveled to Honduras with that group for a number of years.

When he retired from teaching anatomy, Jack ran into Peter Phippin, who was delivering good, fresh nutritional produce that had exceeded the Coop’s stringent sell-by dates to people in the area in need. All Peter had was his old station wagon to deliver food, and so he recruited Jack and Mark Lansburgh to join him in starting Willing Hands, a food-rescue organization. Terry joined them on the Board, teaching cooking and food use and helping with the Volunteer Farm.  That organization continues to flourish today.

At present, Terry, Jack, and a friend cook and serve dinners once a month at Dismas House, which serves as a halfway house for people who have left prison and are looking for work and housing in their home area.

Valley Insight Meditation Society is grateful to them for their varied, valuable, ongoing work and is happy to honor them this fall.

Please attend the Micah Awards ceremony, cheer for our honorees, and hear many inspiring stories from fifteen faith-based communities about those who have given significant time to helping those who are enduring political, social, or economic injustices!

The Awards Ceremony will take place on Sunday, October 27Doors open at 2 pm for socializing. The ceremony will take place from 3 to 5 pm.  The venue is the Claremont Senior Center, which is less than 15 minute drive from Interstate 91.

Tickets are $25 per person. A scholarship fund is available for those who wish to attend, but can’t afford the ticket. Last year the event was sold out, so please buy tickets early.

Please contact Karen Summer for details and/or to purchase a ticket.  Karen.summer2@gmail.com.

Sangha Members Will Lead Immigrant Justice Vigil Tuesday, March 5, 2019
We have a special opportunity to bring Buddhist words and practices to the public square on Tuesday, March 5. Every month, United Valley Interfaith Project (UVIP) members take part in a vigil to support immigrant justice outside the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) offices in Manchester, New Hampshire. Valley Insight is a member organization of UVIP and members of our sangha attend this monthly vigil.

Doris Hampton and Shideko Terai (Mary Boyle) will be among the leaders of the vigil on March 5. They will offer Buddhist writing and a ceremony, bringing a stronger Buddhist presence in the spoken words and ritual meditative walk. (With a predominance of Christian attendees, the vigil’s spoken words and music often have a Christian flavor, although in February, a Sufi prayer and poem by Thich Nhat Hahn were read at the vigil.)

A SignUpGenius link is below where you can sign up for car pooling to Manchester.  The cars leave at 7:15am from the CCBA in Lebanon.  You can choose among 3 options: (1) I will meet you at CCBA at 7:00 AM but cannot drive; (2) I can meet you at CCBA at 7:00 AM and CAN drive; or (3) I will drive separately but meet you in Manchester at 8:30 AM.

Please join Doris and Shideko for the 9:00 a.m.–10:30 a.m. vigil to honor our immigrant neighbors and bear witness to their suffering as they report for appointments with ICE at the Federal Building in Manchester (275 Chestnut Street in Manchester). Carpools leave at 7:15 a.m. from the CCBA in Lebanon. We’ll return to Lebanon not later than 12:00 noon. Please email Shideko Terai for more information about the vigil and car pooling: mary[dot]n[dot]boyle[at]gmail[dot]com 603-252-7898 (SMS)
Vigil Organizers: Granite State Organizing Project, Faith in Action, and American Friends Service Committee.

Information about ongoing vigils to support undocumented people is below.  We also participate in the important actions of NH Voices for Faith when the NH Legislature is in session.  Policy (i.e. political) changes have occurred spurred by the numbers of people who have marched in Manchester and crowded into the halls and galleries of the NH Legislature. Your presence matters!   An Update from Mary Boyle and Karen Summer. Karen (karen.summer2@gmail.com) and Mary  (mary.n.boyle@gmail.com) co-represent VIMS on the Executive Council of the United Valley Interfaith Project (UVIP). Please contact Mary or Karen if you would like to know more.

June 2018, A New Lead Organizer
Welcome, Asma Elhuni, the Lead Organizer for UVIP! In her own words:
“I am excited to be joining the United Valley Interfaith Project team. Like many of you, my passion for organizing is rooted in my faith and experiences. Raised in a working-class immigrant family, I know firsthand some of the struggles that accompany families that try desperately to make ends meet. I have also experienced the difficulty that comes with navigating this country as an immigrant and a person of color. Additionally, I come from a culture that values and respects the elderly in our community; so, I am honored that organizing around aging is a part of UVIP.”

• The most recent projects for the group include UVIP’s Immigrant Justice, Economic Justice, and Aging with Dignity initiatives. For more details, please explore the UVIP website ( http://www.unitedvalleyinterfaithproject.org ) . • A search for someone to fill UVIP’s Lead Organizer position is currently underway. The position is being temporarily covered by contract organizers Aron DiBacco and Nancy Glynn.

This month, we highlight immigration solidarity

The emerging Immigrant Justice initiative became ever more urgent in the current political environment, with its immediate threats to immigrants without documents living peacefully among us. UVIP has partnered with its sister organization, Granite State Organizing Project (GSOP) in its efforts, and a New Hampshire Immigrant Solidarity Network has been formed.

How does this relate to what we hear is going on across our nation and New Hampshire? And how can Valley Insight Meditation Society, as individuals and families, support these efforts? Many educational opportunities are taking place now:

• A Sanctuary Slideshow explains the organizational support needed;

Immigration 101 explains the complicated path to US citizenship;

Know Your Rights Training by the ACLU addresses legal aspects to be considered when providing physical sanctuary, or when an immigrant is raided by Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE);

The Rapid Response Training for volunteers who are willing to be observers during an ICE raid is another vitally important training to support the immigrant without documents.

Attending the monthly vigils in front of the Federal Office Building in Manchester at 8:30 a.m. on the first Tuesday of the month is another way that the VIMS community has shown visible support to immigrants who must check in with ICE.

Thanks to all who are involved in these important initiatives. Please contact Mary or Karen if you would like to know more.
Karen Summer (karen.summer2@gmail.com) and Mary Boyle (mary.n.boyle@gmail.com) co-represent VIMS on the Executive Council of the United Valley Interfaith Project (UVIP).

Vigils to Support Undocumented Immigrants – Sign-up url for car pooling below. 
People who believe in supporting undocumented immigrants are prayer vigiling at the ICE Office (Norris Cotton Federal Building, 275 Chestnut Street, Manchester, NH) when immigrants without documents have to report to ICE for their periodic “check-ins”.  We carpool from CCBA in Lebanon at 7:00 AM SHARP.  If you can attend only 1, go the first Tuesday of each month.  We need to maintain visibility even though the initial push by ICE appears to have been thwarted by the Federal courts and by Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D) and Governor Chris Sununu (R) working together to halt the immediate deportations of 30 Indonesians who came to the U.S. in the 1990s.  There are many others at risk.  We need to remind ICE that we are watching!

A SignUpGenius link is below where you can sign up for any and all of these vigils. For each date you can join us, you can choose among 3 options: (1) I will meet you at CCBA at 7:00 AM but cannot drive; (2) I can meet you at CCBA at 7:00 AM and CAN drive; or (3) I will drive separately but meet you in Manchester at 8:30 AM.

Response to Terrorism in Charlottesville:
On behalf of VIMS, our guiding teacher, Doreen Schweizer, as our clergy representative to the wonderful, engaged, and active United Valley Interfaith Project, has signed a national RESPONSE TO TERRORISM IN CHARLOTTESVILLE. The document, from a coalition of faith-based groups around the country, is calling for wisdom and clarity as well as strong, balanced action in direct and immediate support for people of color. It is truly in support of liberty, justice, compassion, and sanity. Although some of the document’s language is not language we might use to express our basic beliefs, the spirit of solidarity and action called for are important. To read the petition, go here.
UVIP News for August, written by Mary Boyle
New Hampshire Immigrants Affected by Recent ICE Crackdown: UVIP (and VIMS) Keep Vigil to Lend Support
How, where, and in what ways can we meet those who are hurting? This is the question we come back to within the United Valley Interfaith Project (UVIP) of which Valley Insight is a member. We will continue to do more listening, deep listening, as we go forward using a true grassroots process. How do we engage more actively with UVIP within the VIMS sangha?  “Power is a product of relationship” – the power to go forward for the voiceless.

Most recently, UVIP has been actively participating at the vigils in support of immigrants at the monthly check-ins with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at the Norris Cotton Federal Building in Manchester, NH. Several people from VIMS have shown up these past three months on the first Tuesdays, 8:30 – 9:30 a.m., where more than three hundred supporters were present in June, sixty in July, and over one hundred this month, so far.

Sangha members join UVIP participants to keep vigil in support of immigrants at the Federal building in Manchester, NH

Sadly, on August 1st, ICE detained at least three people, while their family members wept in shock.  And many others (20+) were told to return next month with plane tickets for their flights to their home countries.  What we have been dreading is beginning to unfold.  Sincere gratitude for the more than one hundred people who joined us in songs, prayers and silent witness at the August 1 vigil, and to the many, many others who were present in Spirit. UVIP’s response to this urgent situation will be on the agenda for the August (monthly) meeting.

If you want to receive email notices about social actions (immigration, the continuing healthcare fight, etc), please notify Mary at mary.n.boyle@gmail.com
Mary is now a core member of immigration support under the leadership of Cayla Dyer, UVIP Lead Organizer.

As the affected families, their faith leaders, and immigrant community leaders identify next steps, let us hold them with metta and healing thoughts. We will let you know about future actions in the coming weeks, as we seek ways to stand with our immigrant brothers and sisters.

UVIP continues with its fundraising campaign to uphold its work for social justice in discernment on how we can best meet the needs of those who are hurting. Two VIMS sangha members are part of the UVIP fundraising team: Karen Summer and Mary Boyle. We could use your help!  Click here to give financial support for UVIP’s efforts.

Questions? Please contact Karen Summer (karen.summer2@gmail.com) or Mary Boyle (mary.n.boyle@gmail.com). With a deep bow, we honor the metta from the sangha.

The issue of Sanctuary for undocumented people is being energetically addressed by local activists, and, as engaged Buddhists, VIMS plans to stay active as this work takes shape. More than ten people from VIMS attended the Hanover Friends-sponsored information forum on immigration protection, held in April. Along with keeping the subject alive in your thoughts and discussions with others, here are 2 ways you can be involved in the effort:  (1) Accompaniment — going with undocumented immigrants to their ICE (Immigration & Customs Enforcement) appointments. The next “accompaniment” action will be in early June in Durham, NH; (2) Rapid Response hotline (in planning stage) — be part of a phone network that would quickly mobilize support so that ICE actions are documented and publicized. The goal is a hotline that immigrants could call for help when they are confronted by ICE in their homes or work places.

On an organizational level, the April forum addressed the idea of a “Sanctuary Network” to provide physical support for undocumented workers.  All attendees were asked to ask their faith communities to enter a process of “discernment” about whether or not there is energy in the UV to work on this network. The VIMS Advisory Board and the Teacher Team both support our ongoing engagement in this local sanctuary movement.  For more information, please contact Karen Summer  karen.summer2[at]gmail[dot]com.
The Valley News article about the April 8 Community Forum is here.