by Lauren Goldstein
Organizing and Advocacy Intern, JCUA
Early in the morning of April 5 2013, members of the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs stood alongside the Sisters of Mercy and other interfaith partners in prayer and in strength to support those being deported from the Broadview Detention Center.
In the shadow of the barbed wire fencing and the county jail buses, amidst police vehicles and officers, and beneath a waving American flag, words of prayer and songs were shared to illustrate our solidarity with our brothers and sisters currently being detained in this country. Standing with us were a few families waiting to say goodbye to their family members. Vigil participants told the families that we were all there to pray with them, and that they are not, and never will be, alone.
Judy Levey – executive director of the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs – offered an opening prayer for the vigil as we all joined together to sing “The World is Narrow Bridge” (see video below). Prayers were offered, proclaiming we will keep in our hearts those being deported, the families been torn apart, those living in fear and uncertainty, and the leaders of our nation who have the power to make a change. Above all, prayers expressed hope that the spirit of love be more powerful than the spirit of hatred and discrimination.
Participants learned the names of a number of individuals being deported that day to countries around the world, from Albania to Guatemala, for no reason other than administrative paperwork error. Those present were called to contact our elected officials and plead for comprehensive, compassionate immigration reform. We were moved to act now – to create and affect change now – to fight for justice now.
Each day across the country families are destroyed by this inhumane immigration policy, and we have the power to organize and achieve change. We were reminded that we, too, were strangers, and survived by the grace of a helping hand. It is now our turn. As we stood together and bore witness to the cruelty occurring every day, we hope to have infused those leaving Broadview Detention Center this morning with the strength they need to carry on, and the knowledge that they are not alone.
Please join us in fighting for comprehensive Immigration reform. Stay tuned for upcoming events and opportunities to help us as we fight for a better and more just society for all.
For more information on JCUA’s immigration work, contact:
Rabbi Alison Abrams
JCUA Director of Organizing