Clergy and lay members of the Diocese of Los Angeles were among religious leaders taking part in a March 23 demonstration at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Los Angeles to protest the detention and deportation of immigrants, especially recent Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids targeting Central American refugee mothers and children who have come to the U.S. to flee violence and to seek asylum.
The march was organized by the interfaith group Clergy Leaders United for Economic Justice (CLUE). Twenty-one demonstrators were arrested, including Francisco Garcia, priest-in-charge of Holy Faith Church, Inglewood; Archdeacon Joanne Leslie; and Canon Randy Kimmler of Holy Spirit Fellowship, Los Angeles.
“An amazing morning of justice and compassion,” Kimmler wrote on his Facebook page after the event. “Marched from the detention center to Pershing Square for foot washing and justice disobedience.” He added, “LAPD could not have been nicer.”
Those arrested were cited and released the same day, with orders to appear in court in June.
Also participating in the march was Bishop Guy Erwin of the Southwest California Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and a broad coalition of other faith leaders, including Catholic and Protestant clergy and laity, Jewish rabbis and representatives of the Muslim community.
More about diocesan efforts in support of refugee and immigrant families will be published in the Summer 2016 issue of The Episcopal News.