We can just start with a prayer in obedience and in homage to some of the most beautiful people who are detained here with their own dignity and their heads held high because they know their family members are out here . . .
We pray because we believe in liberation.
We pray because Samuel Soto deserves to see his son again, and deserves to recognize the dignity and worth and the value and beauty of his three year old.
We pray because even when you are still in detention, one can still sing songs of freedom.
We pray because we act to break laws that are breaking families apart.
We pray for all that are separated due to the artificial boundaries.
And we pray lastly for the liberation and spirit of human beings and for the sort of God that day by day desires and yearns for freedom.
The weird thing about Broward Transitional Center is that it is not that bad, really; the food is digestible, you have one change of clothing, the men can play, gossip, & pray — the structure is much, much less hospital to the womyn.
But the backdrop to Everything is Deportation, all your appointments with your attorney (if you can afford one), judge & deportation officer can trigger that — & even if that were just perception, the psychological toll is the same.
Aunque La Jaula Sea De Oro, No Deja De Ser Prisión.
And they beat their bars so they would be free.
I was well prepared for it: 19 years of living undocumented does that; you learn the lies, the subtleties, the embarrassment, the agony that comes with it. I knew why men were sycophants, why so many disbelieved in organizing, why they would rather numb, avoid, or silently care their wounds.
What happens to a people whose imprisonment brings profit is ghastly; what happens to the people who need this system, is much, much worse: They abide in an innocent world, where America is still the frontier with resources & natives left to plunder. They have forgotten their history & are blinded by that amnesia.
Not one person – ever – left home without leaving some of themselves or their love on the other side. I saw it at boarding school & then, again, in college. But the rich & innocent can’t fathom the same for the poor — and perhaps here is our sad ending, the rich need the poor, not only to justify themselves but for profit, and the poor need not the rich.
Well the men at BTC were poor, just not in laughs or stories. They have a message for the nation, if only we dare to listen:
i am thinking about how undocumented & illegal mean different things (depending on the interlocutor) in their origins, legal significance, and threats & mean the same only at a superficial level. Undocumented is almost too much of a band-aid, meaning that due to a series of events a person falls out of line w/ the procedures of the state they reside in.
Kafka, “before the Law”
Illegal may be more true, which sounds awful at first, but maybe the reason that word had so much power over me growing up, was because it not only tried to describe me, mine, my situation, but, more importantly, more truly, described those who used it innocently (& thereby sustain it) &, what’s more, need it.
Illegal was always an indictment, not only of me, but of everything & everyone that was part of that creation, it is but part of a series in which sin plays out throughout time, this, maybe, it’s most absurd context –> Absurd because it proves Saint Paul right, all things are justifiable, all things, and, in fact, all people can be [il]legal if we dare to put our brother on the scaffold once again, but do all things edify?
If i was never illegal, then that cornerstone on which lay the foundation for systems of operation is folly. If i was never illegal, then, perhaps, the economy, the international politics, multinational corporations & their unmatched revenues were never legal. Doesn’t the fulfillment of the gospel point to a new creation? Have we become so alienated, so deaf to the yearnings of all creation?
We know war, poverty, plague, & hunger do not edify, yet we’re crafty enough to legislate them. We know family, life, well-being, welfare edify, yet we’re bold enough to outlaw them.
What that means now, at least to me, is that the folks who have & are now paying “twice for all their sins” possess an unparalleled moral authority. Having witnessed the underside too long, have developed a most sophisticated eye for tragedy. Here one runs against what Nietzsche decided was our modern conundrum: a collective blindness to tragedy. Will those who have eyes to see be able to bear witness? Will those who have ears to hear sing a blue note? I guess what a black preacher once told me is true: the only thing left to do is: Sound the Trumpet.
Trumpet sound for Jubilee,
Trumpet sound for you and me.
“When injustice becomes law, rebellion becomes duty:” Words spoken first by the chief author of the Declaration of Independence, who therein warns: “Persons are not predisposed to insurrection, so long as those evils are sufferable.”
“But when a long train of usurpations and abuses . . .” Ah! Therein lies the rub, but when the deferred dream sags to a nearly combustible population & position, but when fallacies and fraud are allowed for too long, but when your loved one and their lovers are detained & deported leaving you in despair, but when one state in the United States overtly challenges human justice and while all others subtlety, politely, but surely, allow for the over-policing of the least protected, then rebellion becomes duty.
When injustice becomes law, rebellion becomes duty. What if the nation is the sum of policies attempting to cover up injustices? What if the framing of the constitution around negative rights was an attempt to awkwardly evade confronting the new frontier colonized by way of massacre? In fearing themselves, our brave pioneers attempted limited government, in fearing human nature they built purifying puritan crucibles to maintain the facade of virginity.
When injustice becomes law, rebellion becomes duty. Which injustice merits rebellion first? — All and one, one and all. What if we’ve become too adjusted, accommodated, and comfortable with injustice? Are we willing to rebel against our own patterns & prophets?When injustice becomes law, rebellion becomes duty. How much more blood does it take to cleanse our sins? How many more broken homes, broken spirits? Will we learn to dis-occupy others, and learn to occupy, by being comfortable with, our own?
one the most agonizing things to witness was how the men used religion in detention. i could not judge them then or now, for my contention remains that that detention center & the hundreds across the nation are metaphors of ourselves.
religion can be used to forget, to hope, to alleviate, and/or liberate; it is a lens through which one can consider all things anew or a tool used for control. of course, it is perfectly logical people for a despised people, who have been deprived of the little wealth they had (family, relationships, their labor) to cling to faith. when the courts, the prosecutor, the judge, the deportation officer, the guards, the surveillance cameras are all not in your favor, where is your refuge?
The religion of this land, Frederick Douglass once proclaimed, is not the religion of God. Anything that serves to comfort the afflicted, shield the wounded, restore the displaced is in accordance with my faith. Anything that promotes injustice, that severs the holiest of ties, that awkwardly & adolescently uses desensitized laws to justify the ways of man is sin. But when we started to promote the fast, some said it was not in accordance with the gospel, & in the worst cases some thought that Judge Ford himself had been appointed by God to adjudicate over their lives . . .
Even so, we did our work, and held our faith, as best we could: Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy.
Perhaps the preacher was right,
When he was against money
while his body was profited from.
Perhaps the preacher was right,
and the fault was mine
for loving you
& it was a “lack of love”
that held me detained.
Baldwin as Artist-Saint