Grassroots Leadership is glad to welcome Elizabeth Welliver to its Austin staff. Elizabeth joins Grassroots as the fifth Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) to serve with the immigration team since 2012. The Young Adult Volunteer program with the Presbyterian Church (USA) offers the opportunity for young adults to serve for one year alongside local partners while practicing simple living, vocational discernment, intentional Christian community, cross-cultural mission, and leadership development.
Originally from Maryland, Elizabeth comes to Austin from Davidson, North Carolina, where she studied religion and Spanish. For the past year, she worked as an Interfaith Engagement Fellow on campus engaging students from many traditions in mindfulness practices and faith-based activism. She brings experience working with the Sanctuary Movement as a summer ministry intern at Southside Presbyterian Church in Tucson, Arizona, where she saw the power of people-led movements and faith communities joining the struggle for immigration justice.
"It is exciting and eye-opening to join Grassroots' work of uncovering the deep injustices of our immigration system. I first learned about the humanitarian crises of detention and deportation on an ecumenical delegation to El Salvador in 2013. Seeing the other side of the border, I realized how U.S. policies and have contributed to the on-going violence in Central America. I feel responsible as a citizen that my government continues to punish refugees and immigrants who contribute vitally to our society," Elizabeth said.
"Now, I join Grassroots on the day that a Salvadoran man named Alirio took sanctuary in Austin with the support of the community to protect his life. It is also the day that the current administration ended DACA, putting the rights and dignity of 800,000 of my peers on the line and calling us to fight back. The hope-filled determination of immigrants and allies in Austin shows me that each one of us has a role to play, and I am grateful to be with Grassroots this year."