This Sunday afternoon, October 27, we are partnering with a fledgling non-profit called Friends of Adelanto, to make an educational presentation about the human rights violations that immigrant detainees are subject to in our country. This is a cutting edge issue that the public is in the midst of grappling the facts of. Neighborhood Church is fulfilling its Social Justice Mission by providing an opportunity to shed light on a matter that is changing by the minute, and desperately needs our attention if we care about the founding principles of our beloved America – many principles that, incidentally, Unitarian Universalists share and hold sacred.
Not many people seem to be aware of how bad the immigrant detainee situation is. Some people who are learning about the issue said to me recently that it is reminiscent of the Japanese internment. We are rounding up undocumented immigrants and placing them in detention, usually having committed no significant crime. Because they are not US citizens, they do not have the rights we associate with incarceration in our country. For example, they cannot make a phone call. They are extremely isolated, and often shuttled to and from various detention centers around the country. Family and friends lose track of them.
One of the speakers this Sunday (from 1 – 4 PM in the Music Room/Refreshments provided/FREE) is Luis Nolasco, 22 years old, originally from Mexico, who migrated to the US with his family when he was 9 years old. He says, “As someone that has been in Immigration Detention, I understand the issue of Isolation and the need for visitation.”
Our in-house grassroots effort, The Detainee Friends Project, has been writing and receiving pen-pal letters from detainees at Adelanto Detention Center in San Bernadino, and we have had a few visits there. We are just beginning in our efforts to raise awareness about the extent of suffering we support with our own tax dollars. We are just beginning in joining a widening movement to lessen that suffering with a ministry of presence and attention. You are welcome to join us as we be the change we want to see in the world.
Rev. Hannah Petrie