In July our vigil was co-hosted by the Presbyterian Church in Chinatown, Chinese for Affirmative Action, and Chinese Medicine and Magic. The vigil included a litany and testimony on the history of Chinese American immigration and resilience, offered faith rituals tied to Chinese tradition, and highlighted how the Chinese American community is building solidarity around current immigration and racial justice struggles.
We stand with those directly impacted by unjust systems: the prison system and mass incarceration, U.S. immigration systems and laws, and aspects of U.S. foreign and domestic policy that damage people’s lives. Together we will respond: inspire and be inspired to action, pray, support and be supported, and honor all of humanity.
In June our vigil is co-hosted by Ministerio Latino of Oakland, a ministry of the United Church of Christ that welcomes all Latino immigrants who want to express their spirituality regardless of their creed or sexual orientation. Speakers include Rev. Rhina Ramos of Ministerio Latino and Nicole Santamaria of El/La Para Translatinas, with music by Rosa Los Santos.
“Mr. Ahn would wake up early every morning and watch the news. Whenever I go by his bunk area he would give me pastries and snacks. And when I see him or call out to him, he would give me the peace sign. Being one of the few who was exempt from the hunger strike, Mr Ahn still wanted to participate and refused to go to “chow”. This is why ICE is cold and heartless. Mr. Ahn should have been on top of their list for release.”
–Charles Joseph, friend who was formerly detained with Mr. Ahn at Mesa Verde
On Thursday, May 28th at noon, faith leaders and community groups held a public memorial in front of the SF ICE building to hold ICE responsible for the death of Choung Woong Ahn, a 74 year-old man who died in ICE custody at the Mesa Verde Detention Facility.
Mr. Ahn had been held at Mesa Verde since February and suffered from diabetes, hypertension and heart & respiratory conditions. His case was a clear example of a medically vulnerable individual who was denied their right to life by ICE and GEO. The preliminary cause of death was suicide, though the case is currently under investigation by ICE.
ICE refused to release Mr. Ahn, based on prior convictions, even though Mr. Ahn had already earned early release. Faith leaders and community groups are demanding that ICE and GEO which operates Mesa Verde, be held accountable for the death of Mr. Ahn, and that ICE release more people before other deaths occur.
Join us to honor the life of Mr. Ahn and the values of Redemption, Restoration and Release. Help us uplift the need to #FreeThemAll in order to save thousands of lives at risk in detention.