“You are not alone!”
This was the phrase shouted out to people who were moved out of Broward Transition Center (BTC) tonight. The BTC is a for-profit jail that holds undocumented immigrants in transition. And, right now, there is an on-going presence of students and many other members of community spending their time in front of Broward Transition Center to show their solidarity with people detained in BTC. The van that carried people out of the center tonight was probably going to another transition center or somewhere else to deport people. As a part of the work I do at my placement, I attended a meeting there with those who have been there almost every day this week.
My placement, South Florida Interfaith Worker Justice (SFIWJ) serves and advocates for the low-wage workers so that they will be treated fairly and with dignity in their workplaces. And, issues and rights regarding immigrants are very relevant in protecting the workers since many of them are immigrants, documented or undocumented. After many thoughts, struggles, and prayers, I have decided to serve my year of mission in SFIWJ because I felt God led me here to serve (and learn from, with my very limited skills and knowledge) the people often marginalized in this society. And, the people who are in BTC are, many times, neglected and hated in our society.
It is true that they have broken the law in place by not having papers. But, putting the law or papers aside, I think about people tonight. People who are separated from their families, who are locked away, who are hated, and who are told to “go home” when many of them already call this country their home. People who live to provide best things for their loved ones, yet the decision to do so came with risks and heavy price. People who haven’t done any other crimes than not having papers. People who are alone with uncertainty and fear, not knowing what will happen to them and to their families. It is easy to suggest what we should do with people who break the law, until you realize that they are people, just like me, my family, and friends who deserve compassion. Because, in truth, they are not just people who “broke the law”, but people whom my God sent His Son to die for. Knowing that these are people like me, the phrase, “You are not alone” resonates so deep within me tonight, I am not sure what to do.
This week has been somewhat overwhelming for me internally. I learn so much every day about myself and the world around me. Or, more so that every knowledge and pieces of information I knew in my head becomes so much more real. And, what Jesus has done for me and the world by coming in the flesh of man to be with the lowliest of the lows who are unworthy to untie the thong of his sandal is not an abstract idea, but concrete reality. And, this process of learning and realizing is painful to digest at times, but I know I can’t turn away from it. I still wonder what I should do, or can do. Or, whether I am supposed to do anything at all. And, all these, I ask my Father every day.