The Tangled Web of Emigration and Immigration: From the Doctrine of Discovery to Emma Lazarus and the Statue of Liberty

Emma Lazarus, the Jewish American poet who wrote “The New Colossus”, which appears in part on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty also wrote a poem titled “1492.” Nearly a century ago, Lazarus championed the plight of Russian Jews who were fleeing persecution.

For more than 45 years, Unitarian Universalists have pushed for justice for Indigenous peoples, passing a number of resolutions and actions of immediate witness. The 2012 General Assembly in Phoenix, AZ passed, at the request of immigration justice partners, a resolution condemning the Doctrine of Discovery and calling on Unitarian Universalists to study the doctrine and its impact on current-day policies, programs and beliefs.

How do the related issues of emigration and immigration inform our response to 21st century concerns of social justice?