Jason Lydon is the Congregational Director of the Community Church of Boston
On Sunday November 22nd I had the opportunity to attend a vigil and rally outside of South Bay Detention Center in Boston, Massachusetts. As the congregational leader of the Community Church of Boston, I brought seven members of my congregation to join with nearly a dozen religious and secular organizations to stand with immigrants who are being targeted by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement).
We gathered together in prayer, filled with love and righteous anger. Outside the jail speakers imparted the horrors of our current immigration policies. Inside the windows of the jail, we could see prisoners waving to us, making signs with their names, pleading for support and justice. After a short gathering we marched around the jail chanting:
Stop the raids and deportations, immigrant justice now!
Open the doors and let the people out!
What do we want? Amnesty!
When do we want it? Now!
After marching around the jail, we walked up a bridge to get a better view of the wing where the ICE detainees are held. As we looked out to them, continuing our chants, holding the Standing on the Side of Love banner, we could read in one window, “Free Us” and another said “Keep Fighting.” This clear call for action was put in the window with toilet paper. As we were reaching in, the people behind the walls were reaching out. One of our crew had a visit scheduled for during the rally. She reported back to us that the other visitors were inspired and moved by our presence, even highlighting their delight with the “Standing on the Side of Love” banner.
Love must be the inspiration behind this work.
When I was able to quiet my body and listen to my heart, I could tap into the overwhelming feelings of love. Love that I have for the people locked up; love that I have for the families of those impacted by our violent immigration policies; love that I have for our movement struggling for transformation; love that I can send to those in power that they may make different choices to stop this cycle of harm.
South Bay is just one jail and the 22nd was just one day but we can find strength in knowing that indeed, we will be back!
The event was sponsored by our New Sanctuary Movement Coalition and we partnered with Interfaith Worker Justice and the Resist the Raids Coalition. Over 60 clergy, seminarians and leaders gathered from First Church UU of Jamaica Plain, Arlington Street Church UU of Boston, Brighton-Allston Congregational Church, Church of the Covenant, Boston, First Parish Church in Cambridge (UU), Paulist Center, Saint Cecilia Parish, Back Bay; Saint Monica–Saint Augustine Parish, South Boston, and the Unitarian Universalist Church of Medford. We are starting a visitation program and we plan to visit an immigrant in detention once a month while continuing our vigils.
You can download additional pictures from the event here.