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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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Resources

Abolition Resources


IM4HI/DND Pilgrimage for a Better Future 2022

We invite you to read and share the Pilgrimage For a Better Future Resource Guide with educational resources and ways to take action that congregations, school communities, and individuals can use.


Lessons from the ICE Detention Contract Termination in Contra Costa County 

In July 2018, the sheriff of Contra Costa County announced he would end his contract with ICE to house about two hundred immigrants in the West County Detention Facility (WCDF) in Richmond, California. The closure was a dramatic moment, after a seven-year public education campaign led by the faith community. 

During the months and years before the announcement, congregations and faith-based organizers had educated the public, built a network of relationships with lawyers and community-based organizations, and cultivated champions among elected officials. They had created a safety net of accompaniment and support for detained migrants and their families. When the sheriff decided to end the county’s involvement in detention, detainees, their families, lawyers, and community-based organizations scrambled to respond and adapt. 

A year later, after the passage of Assembly Bill 32, we convened some of the key players to discuss the lessons we learned and create this resource.


Just Closures Guide

This guide, created in partnership with the Dignity Not Detention Coalition (DND), provides information and resources around Just Closure. DND defines Just Closure as a phase-out process that ensures people are completely liberated from the cruel conditions of incarceration and are allowed to be reunited with their communities. This includes support beyond release from incarceration, including the ensuing legal battle to fight against deportation proceedings. Our Just Closure Model also calls on elected leaders to reinvest in localities that have been exploited by carceral profiteers that force under-resourced communities to rely on immoral prison pipelines. Just Closures shift power away from carceral punishment systems and empowers local communities to reimagine public safety, health, and restoration. 


The People’s Plan for Prison Closure

Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB), a coalition of more than 80 organizations, is working to reduce the number of people in prisons, reduce the number of existing prisons, and redirect funding to build the infrastructure of vulnerable communities. This report, The People’s Plan for Prison Closure (PPPC) is a visionary roadmap that demands bold commitments to justice reinvestment. It provides detailed recommendations including the prioritization of ten prisons to close in the next five years and why, a call to close all women’s prisons, an analysis of cost-savings to be reinvested in impacted communities, and data-driven information about the roles racism continues to play in both prison expansion and overcrowding. 


Health and Safety for Young Migrants: Recommendations for Supporting Unaccompanied Youth

Thousands of immigrant youth arrive to the US without a parent of legal guardian and are placed in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) until they can be released to a sponsor. Often ORR detains these youth in restrictive, large-scale, congregate settings that harm their health and wellbeing. Rooted in the stories, experiences, and recommendations of young people who arrived to the US as unaccompanied youth, this resource draws from public health evidence documenting the heath harms of these large-scale, restrictive settings. It puts forward a vision for ending the current system of detaining unaccompanied minors in harmful settings and for shaping health, just, and supportive immigration policies for unaccompanied youth.

Following the work of organizations with experience and expertise in working with unaccompanied youth, including Detention Watch Network and the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, the resource presents a list of systemic and long-term recommendations that promote the health and wellbeing of impacted youth. 


Dignity Not Detention (DND) Coalition

@CADignity – The Dignity Not Detention Coalition is a statewide network of organizations fighting to abolish immigrant prisons. IM4HI is an active member.

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Resources

Resources: IM4HI Films


Detention into Death Sentence

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. 


BLM from Inside Detention

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


Bula

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:

Want to take a course on Faith-Rooted Organizing?  Access the course on-demand here


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