Several diocesan clergy were among those arrested during the Maundy Thursday Interfaith Day of Prophetic Action to protest the recent actions of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency.
About 300 demonstrators gathered at the La Plaza United Methodist Church at La Placita Olvera and marched along Los Angeles Street, waving signs and chanting, “Immigrants are welcomed here.”
Inspired by Holy Week, demonstrators participated in footwashing and other religious rituals.
The Rev. Joanne Leslie, archdeacon, among those arrested, said she hoped to “pull the eyes of the public to the problem of deportation.
“What ICE is doing is heartless and unnecessary,” Leslie said in an April 14 email to The Episcopal News. “The prophet Ezekiel says, ‘Divide it up as your inheritance and include in it the resident aliens who have made themselves at home among you and now have children. Treat them as if they were born there, just like yourselves.’
“This is what we are called to do. But we are doing the opposite and it is a sin,” she said. “We are tearing apart families, ‘criminalizing’ people who have worked hard, paid taxes, contributed to their communities and have been loved as our neighbors, in many cases for years. ”
Troy Elder, bishop’s legate for Global Partnerships, also participated in the march but was not arrested. He and the group marched to the Metropolitan Detention Center and “we could see detainees looking out through tiny windows down at us,” he said. He said the protestors waved their signs “and sang songs and just stood in solidarity” with the detainees.
The group called for the release of Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez, who was arrested in February by ICE after dropping off his daughter at her Lincoln Heights school.
Also arrested were the co-facilitators of Episcopal Sacred Resistance, the diocesan sanctuary task force: the Rev. Francisco Garcia, rector of Holy Faith Church in Inglewood and the Rev. Canon Jaime-Edwards Acton, rector of St. Stephen’s Church in Hollywood, as well as the Rev. Mike Kinman, rector of All Saints, Pasadena. About 35 were arrested for blocking the entry to the detention center. They were released immediately.