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Pilgrimage to Angel Island

Pilgrimage to Angel Island 2022

On Nov 5, 2022, we led a pilgrimage to Angel Island, a multi-faith spiritual journey to remember, heal & end ICE detention, convened by Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity, Center for Empowering Refugees and Immigrants, & Asian Prisoner Support Committee.


Pilgrimage is about reconnection with each other, with our ancestors, with mystery and the depth of life. We remember in order to heal, to recover collective memory, to decolonize ourselves, to restore our deeper souls. —Dr. Joanne Doi, MM.

Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity organized pilgrimages in 2010, 2018, and 2022 to Angel Island Immigration Detention Station, a national landmark that bears witness to the experiences of immigrant detainees. The Immigration Station on Angel Island (1910-1940) served to control mostly Chinese migration into the United States through a brutal and dehumanizing process. This interfaith pilgrimage explored:

  • The institutionalized othering and incarceration of people of color both in prison and detention systems, past and present
  • Discerning the role of faith responses to the immigrant struggle
  • Honoring the resilience of immigrant communities who assert their humanity and dignity.

Pilgrimage is an ancient spiritual practice in many traditions. They have evolved into modern journeys that evoke layers of meaning, collective memory, healing, and ongoing commitment to reconciliation, justice, and compassionate service. Our Angel Island pilgrimages are part of a tradition of postcolonial pilgrimages that revisit shadowed ground, sacred traces of suffering, and hope. The postcolonial pilgrim’s journey seeks restoration towards a regained wholeness by a re-centering, re-entering and recovery of history; it is a rediscovery that we are part of a living and vital collective memory. 


Angel Island Pilgrimage – More Resources


Congregational Ministry and Advocacy: the Angel Island Immigration Station Era 1910-1940 tells the little-known stories of faith leaders and religious institutions who ministered to and provided hope and physical care to immigrants who were held in detention at Angel Island Immigration Station. Their voices sought to improve living conditions, advocated for immigrants’ release, and fought for reform of unjust policies. Reading these stories kindles our spirits to be faithful and provokes us to ask ourselves: How are we to respond today? Co-edited by Rev. Deborah Lee of Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity, and Craig Wong of Grace Urban Ministries.


Angel Island Pilgrimage: A Reflection on Roots, Migration, Detention, & Border Control – a pilgrimage guide by Kenneth Schoon, at the Graduate Theological Union’s Berkeley Art and Interreligious Pilgrimage Project


Text of our 2018 Ceremony to honor ancestors, past and present, who experienced forced migration and detention.


2018 Angel Island Pilgrimage Booklet, in English or Spanish:


2018 Angel Island Pilgrimage program booklet:

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