Center for Interfaith Cooperation

Hoosiers of Many Faiths in Community

CIC and IUYA’s Chickadee Award

CIC Receives ‘2016 Chickadee Bird Award’ from Indiana Undocumented Youth Alliance 

“A Chickadee bird was chosen to remind [us] of its ability to respond to any injustice with courage despite size and influence. Chickadees are small animals, but they are highly adaptable and brave. In this way, the Chickadee Bird Award is symbolic of leaders leading with courage and seeking new avenues of growth.”

The way Indianapolis reacts to immigrant communities making this their home has received widespread public attention. Some attitudes are that the rapidly changing demographics of our city negatively impact the economy and culture, and some – like this website (INSERT HERE) – see changing demographics and being healthy for our community, if not inspiring and enriching all together.

One might expect undocumented immigrants, who live with this scrutiny constantly, to turn toward bitterness and insulation as a reasonable reaction. This is why the Indiana Undocumented Youth Alliance continually inspires us at the Center for Interfaith Cooperation – and why we are honored to receive the 2016 Chickadee Bird Award for organizations that “understand the morality and human dignity of all people and work closely with immigrant and refugee communities”.

CIC interacts with systems in our society that make being undocumented more difficult, and strives value and nurture ideological diversity. We don’t know how to reconcile the differences in opinion on immigration or structural oppression – but we do know how to invite and welcome the other to the table for conversation and building the relationships that ultimately will define the way forward.

That’s what IUYA inspires us to do – their bravery and heart in the midst of aggressively rigid societal systems speaks to the basis of human dignity.

They gave CIC and the Indiana Interchurch Center the opportunity to display an art exhibit and coordinate events that would inspire conversation around their activities and needs as a community and build relationships that could improve the quality of life for young undocumented Hoosiers. They were successful in building those relationships as they were able to award 7 scholarships to young undocumented Hoosiers who are obtaining their degrees in Indiana institutions.

The banquet to present these scholarships and awards was a living testimony of dignity, formality, and family in the face of pain, mistrust, and misunderstanding.

CIC is grateful to have shared that with them.

– Ben Leslie
CIC Program Director


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