Webinar: Immigrant Detention during COVID-19: Prophetic Action & Compassionate Response
Tuesday, May 19 4-5:15 PM ET
On Tuesday, May 19, the Office of Government Relations and Episcopal Migration Ministries hosted Immigrant Detention during COVID-19: Prophetic Action & Compassionate Response. This seventy-five-minute webinar included clergy and lay leaders from the Dioceses of Georgia, Ohio, and Western Louisiana with professional and ministry background in different models of detention visitation ministry.
“For four years, I have walked alongside women and men suffering in immigrant detention centers and have witnessed directly the inhumane and unjust conditions they endure as they await court hearings or deportation,” said Leeann Culbreath, Deacon at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Valdosta, Georgia. “As the coronavirus spreads, they are trapped in crowded dorms with extremely limited medical care while corrections corporations profit from their detention. Through their desperate voices crying out for help in this moment, Jesus invites the church to join his ministry of liberation: to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free.”
The online presentation provided viewers with an understanding of our country’s immigration detention system, including reports of inhumane conditions and privately-owned prison facilities; an understanding of the reasons immigrants may be detained and how they may be released; and, a discussion of the current situation in detention facilities during COVID-19.
“Although we are not a parish known for our advocacy work, the Spirit twice in a matter of months called us into relationship with detainees in our county,” said The Rev. Aaron Gerlach, Rector of Old Trinity Episcopal Church in Tiffin, Ohio. “I and the other presenters look forward to sharing what we have learned with you in order that you may feel empowered to do the work God is calling you to do.”
The webinar also discussed practical actions that anyone can take to speak out for and respond with compassion to the needs of our siblings in detention.
The recorded webinar is available here.