As we stood there on Sunday, July 8, hundreds of us singing towards the hard walls of the Hutto Detention Center, in one of the slim windows a hand began to wave. Soon, many hands in many windows. These hands belong to women whose children have been separated from them as they sought safety in a new land.
Two weeks ago emails began to float amongst deputies to General Convention imploring some action in response to the government’s separation of children from immigrant families. That Sunday morning morning over 800 people loaded busses and hundreds more in cars for a 35-minute trip to the Detention Center. There we gathered under the midday Texas sun. Spontaneous song arose and over 1000 voices carried the love of Christ towards the women behind those waving hands. Soon after the official program began about half the crowd broke off and tromped across the field, yearning to be closer to women behind those windows. Prayers were spoken. Bp. Curry preached and more song arose.
Then it was over – and the inevitable poignant moment when many realized, as we were boarding our air-conditioned busses to return to our lives of freedom enabled by the happy accident of the place of our births, that after we were gone, those hands would remain trapped behind those slim windows.
I invite you to engage with the needs of families separated at our border. The Episcopal Public Policy network has resources for immigration here:
If your heart is moved to give:
- RAICES provides legal services to underserved immigrant children, families, and refugees in Texas. They have a general donation fund https://www.raicestexas.org/donate/ and several funds to donate to; perhaps the most needy is their Reunite Every Child: People’s Bond Fund https://www.raicestexas.org/donate/reunite-every-child-peoples-bond-fund/
- The Human Rights First defends human dignity and human rights. https://www.humanrightsfirst.org/donate
The Rev. Kevin Johnson is an alternate deputy from the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth. He leads the congregation of St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Arlington, Texas; they gather for worship in Theatre Arlington.