For the past two years, this church building has been home for Edith. A community of support well beyond our congregation has formed around Edith and her family. What initially began as the right thing to do has grown into friendship and shared life – including celebrating birthdays and graduations. And events like this where we mark the passage of time. Friendship has blossomed into solidarity – sharing together in the work to enable Edith to return home to the family apartment.
The fact that Edith Espinal has been living inside a church
building, in sanctuary, for two years, is an unmistakable sign both of her
persistence to stay united with her family, and the utter failure of our
immigration system to treat individuals and families with human decency.
So, it is with the deepest respect, and with great sadness
that I say that after two years, we are still here.
We are still here – meaning we, Edith’s friends and
supporters, are still here by her side.
We are still here – meaning we will not be turned back by the
callousness of poor policy or fear-based rhetoric.
We are still here – meaning Edith has not been deported and,
if nothing else, sanctuary has given Edith two more years to be in the same community
as her family.
But this is also a lament:
We are still here – Edith is still here, inside these walls.
We are still here – Despite persistent advocacy to our
elected officials and the local ICE office, we have seen little movement toward
resolution for Edith.
We are still here – After two years, Edith is still here,
and that should trouble all of us.
And so we will continue to say what we have been saying this
whole time: We believe that families are sacred, God’s love knows no borders,
and we are to treat our neighbors as we want to be treated. That’s why we are here. That’s why we will continue to be here. We invite everyone who feels the same way to
join this work, support Edith, and be a part of a more compassionate humanity.