Just a few days before Christmas, I joined around 200 people for a unique pilgrimage. Marchers remembered, in song and in step, Mary and Joseph's long journey to Bethlehem as well as their refugee flight to Egypt. Adapting this longstanding Catholic tradition, we walked for today's refugees. The walk included educational skits about immigrant rights, a peaceful protest at City Hall to demand full non-cooperation with federal immigration and detention, and finally, a small concert outside of the detention center-- a small concert that I still can't get off my mind.
The Posada was CLUE's third immigration advocacy event in three days. Earlier in the week, many of our interfaith leaders made a public commitment to work for Sanctuary at a well-attended press conference. Then, staff, clergy, and laity turned out to a LA County Board of Supervisors hearing to speak in favor of a proposed deportation defense fund, which would begin to mend a huge gap in the right to due process. We're constantly thinking, talking, and developing actions about the immigration and deportation crises, especially as we acknowledge that it is almost sure to get a lot worse in the next four years.
But standing underneath the detention center, all the talk fell away as we saw lights flash and silhouetted hands wave to us through the narrow slit windows. It truly hit home, for me and for so many others, that there were people in there-- living, breathing human beings who were separated from their families, who were facing deportation without legal representation, who needed to know they had friends on the outside.
And I think they did. We waved back, the announcer and clergy blessed and encouraged them in Spanish, the band played for them. The concert, the whole posada, wasn't for us. It wasn't for the public. It was for our neighbors in detention, to sustain them and give them hope that they are not alone.