At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, fathers, sons, brothers & grandfathers reached out to us from inside Mesa Verde immigration detention center with an urgent plea: COVID-19 “will turn our detention into a death sentence.” They have pleaded with ICE to no avail. We created this video to amplify their voices.
In June 2020, we received a video from the men in Dorm C inside Mesa Verde. They wanted to let the world know that they stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter Movement. Though they cannot be out on the streets with us, they are protesting the violence against Black Lives through a hunger strike led by Black immigrants. This is the first Black Lives Matter protest in ICE detention. Dorm C’s hunger strike is in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter Movement, and against the system that kills, incarcerates, and detains Black lives. They highlight the criminal justice system’s clear disregard for human life. They demand change in our police, prisons, immigration, and criminal justice systems that are not designed to foster nor protect life.
Using Her Quinceanera to Protest ICE
In 2018, Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity supported the Lopez family by training an accompaniment team from First Congregational Church of Berkeley to assist them in their campaign to #FreeRaul. That year Raul’s daughter Alexa was turning 15 and would be celebrating her Quinceañera, but since her father has been detained, this was not an option. Nonetheless, she insisted on making a statement about the impact her father’s detention was having on her life. This video was filmed at our interfaith immigration vigil where Alexa performed her “Vals” coming of age dance outside the West County Detention Facility in Richmond, CA, where her father was detained. Her statement gained national media attention and public support for Raul’s bond hearing.
What Sanctuary Looks Like Today
Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity is part of the National Sanctuary Movement, which provides support for and solidarity with individuals and communities targeted by detention, deportation, and exclusionary immigration policies.
Sanctuary: A Short History is a short documentary created by Theo Rigby on the history of sanctuary in San Francisco in honor of the 30th anniversary of the Sanctuary Movement.
Trailer for the film Sanctuary Rising, a film created by Theo Rigby on families staying together in the face of deportation and communities turning faith into action.
From Root Causes to Sanctuary: learn more about families and congregations who have accompanied them
Charles Joseph is an example of one community member impacted by this prison and ICE collaboration. Charles is a father, husband, artist, musician, and Indo-Fijian leader. He came to the U.S. from Fiji as a permanent resident as a teenager. After being imprisoned at age 22, Charles transformed his life while serving his 13-year sentence by participating in violence prevention programs and developing his artistic talent. However, after winning parole, because of current policy, he was transferred directly into ICE detention and is now facing deportation. This film created by Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity in September 2020 describes Charles’ journey through our country’s inhumane carceral system.
Faith-Rooted Organizing Webinar Series
In our vision of a world without bars and borders, the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity continues to work at the intersection of immigration detention and mass incarceration. In Spring 2020 we hosted a series of webinars on our faith-rooted organizing methodology and how we apply it to our three statewide campaigns:
- Ban private prisons in California (AB32 campaign)
- Stop the Collaboration Between ICE and Our Prisons and Jails (VISION Act, AB 2596)
- End Private Prisons in California (AB 32 Implementation)
- Ending “Life Without Parole”
Want to take a course on Faith-Rooted Organizing? Access the course on-demand here.