Photoessay by David Bacon
The Progressive, February 1, 2017
Five years ago, the Reverend Deborah Lee of the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity began organizing church vigils outside the West County Detention Center in Richmond, California. Vigil participants have won the ability to meet with detainees inside the prison, offered sanctuary, and have found legal help for families.
"Solidarity is our protection," says Reverend Lee. "We ask faith communities to consider declaring themselves 'sanctuary congregations' or 'immigrant-welcoming congregations.'"
A Vietnamese refugee describes his personal experience as part of a protest against the denial of amnesty to Central American families, outside the detention center where many are held.
Civil rights veteran Rev. Phil Lawson leads demonstrators during the detention center vigil in a call and response prayer.
Reylla Denis Ferraz Da Silva, her husband Fabricio, and baby Enzo Gabriel. Reylla was picked up for deportation by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, despite the fact that she was nursing Enzo, and had been living in San Francisco for eight years as she trained to become a church pastor at the Message of the Peace Church.