9th Annual Mother's Day Vigil, Tacoma, Washington.
Each year the Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice (IMirJ) from Portland, Oregon joins the Church Council of Greater Seattle and the Washington Community Action Network to sponsor a vigil the Saturday before Mother's Day.
This year was the largest with several hundred people gathered - those of us from Portland travelling three hours north to Tacoma to witness to the families of the detained. We are not allowed to enter the private corporation detention center operated by the GEO corporation, but anyone visiting a loved one in the detention center did share the message that we do not support either the privatization of detention centers nor the detention of undocumented persons - frequently with no legal representation.
A representative from the Middle East refugee community made the connection between the ban against Muslim countries and the ICE raids on undocumented communities. "All our communities live in fear and we stand together to say NO to separation of families and bans on people from certain Muslim countries." He spoke of the detention of an Iranian woman at the Portland airport who was sent to the Tacoma Detention Center until a lawyer could free her based on the fact that she had a legitimate visa to visit her family.
The action was to place flowers on the Detention Center fence to honor the thousands of families separated by ICE.
We sang protest songs in solidarity with the detained persons and their families - "No more deportations/No mas deportaciones, No more deportations, never turning back, never turning back/No mas deportaciones, nunca para atra, nunca para atras."
In a closing prayer for Immigrants, we asked to open everyone's eyes to see the immigrants and undocumented: "The farm worker, the hotel worker, the line cook, the child care provider and the health care worker."
A group of young people from a Portland church brought a sign that represents the reality for children living with undocumented parents. If I were an ICE agent - how would I or you feel if my/our job was to separate families?
Join demonstrations and vigils daily outside the NORCOR facility in the Dalles, Oregon. See Street roots article on the hunger strike and demonstrations news.streetroots.org/2017/05/17/ice-going-after-farmworkers-county-jails-make-money.
Organize a delegation to support the detainees inside NORCOR. www.rop.org/support-norcor-hunger-strikers-gorge/ They want daily and weekend groups to vigil. It begins every day at 5PM or midday on weekends. Rural Organizing Project is one of the sponsors of these vigils.
Please send me your ideas and questions in the comment section!
My life has been about crossing borders and cultures and building bridges across the boundaries that normally divide. Have you crossed any borders in your life?