Coordinator of Hispanic and Latino Ministries (GBGM) the Rev. Lyda Pierce participating in a protest of the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Wash during April of 2014. Photo by Jesse Love.

Hispanic Happenings:
Angels in the Rain #not1more
By the Rev. Lyda Pierce | Photos by Jesse N. Love

Coordinator of Hispanic and Latino Ministries (GBGM) the Rev. Lyda Pierce participated in a protest of the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Wash. At a time when the White House and President Obama have deported its 2 millionth undocumented immigrant in America, those working to oppose these actions have banded together to stand up against this system. The presence of United Methodist clergy (Roger Barr, Lyda Pierce, Gerardo Guzman, and Karen Yokota) helped provide a veil of peace and prayer for those protesting and for those detained for being undocumented immigrants.

On Saturday, April 5 we stood together with children and wives of immigrants detained at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Wash. We stood with people from other churches, the Faith Action Network, worker organizations, and community groups. We stood in the rainy warehouse district on the mud flats of Tacoma in front of the detention center to pray, chant, listen and witness to a commitment to love the stranger, the immigrant, our neighbors.

We stood on a dead-end road with the police and the security guards watching. No one else saw us there.

I’m pretty sure the detainees could not see or hear us. But they knew we were there. I don’t think the GEO management, board or stockholders who own the detention center were watching. But they know we were there. Neither the president nor any members of Congress were present. But they know that we were there along with 85 other groups of people around the country stood with families torn apart by US immigration actions. They know we are asking for a stop to deportations until we get a just, sensible and compassionate immigration reform passed. They know we are asking for such an immigration reform.

We stood together on that dead-end street in the rain. Immigrants led with stories. A brass band cheered us in the rain. Pastor Karen Yokota of Milton and Wesley Memorial UMCs led everyone in prayer. We knew 85 other groups around the country stood with us. We knew that hundreds of churches prayed on Sunday for guidance and compassion that we might be more welcoming communities for immigrants.

It was a good place to be!

Nearly four weeks before, I was in the same spot with the same call. On March 11 there was another rally. We had some 18 United Methodist members at that gathering. Has immigration reform happened yet? No– but the cries and the witness is growing.

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers,
for by doing that
some have entertained angels without knowing it.

Hebrews 13:2

It is good to stand with those who are hidden in a warehouse on a dead-end road on the mud flats. I was blessed by the angels all around.


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