Big Sanctuary day


Yesterday was a big Sanctuary day, with two major events.

Mayor Ginther and several of his staff brought lunch for Edith and ate with her.  Two of her children and I joined.  We had a little over an hour for Edith to tell her story, Brandow and Stephanie to talk about what it’s like to fear being separated from their mother, and the four of us to ask the mayor to use his influence to petition ICE to affirm re-opening Edith’s asylum case.  We didn’t get a firm commitment from him, but are hopeful the meal will impact his perspective moving forward in how Columbus residents are being impacted by harsh immigration tactics.

Mayor Ginther visit

In the evening we hosted the event Sanctuary People, Sanctuary Community, Sanctuary Movement.  The highlight was connecting Edith and Columbus with four other people currently in sanctuary, and their supporters: Austin, TX, Philadephia, PA, Raleigh, NC, and Durham NC.  One of the main goals was to elevate this as a national story to connect these cases and help create a new narrative of compassion.  I don’t have a good picture, but the event got a lot of attention with the local press, with links below.  During the day we were also interviewed by two international media outlets, one from Spain and one from Brazil.  I’m not currently aware of any national press that picked it up.

Today was another big day for the Espinals as Edith’s husband Manuel had a court date in Cleveland.  He was accompanied by a group of Columbus supporters.  We learned early this afternoon the very good news that he does not need to reappear in court until March 2019.  This means his own application for asylum is still pending and he maintains a temporary status in the US.

Days like yesterday are a clear reminder that Sanctuary has a life of its own.  Our collective life has become bound together with Edith, and, more widely, with a community of supporters in Columbus and across the country.  The publicity through the press is a good thing for Edith’s case, but puts us in unfamiliar territory.  There are days in which sanctuary has minimal impact on what happens around the church.  And there are days like yesterday.

From another angle, I’m guessing it is impacting every one of us in some way.  Yesterday a CMC father passed along a story about his young son telling his class in school that his church was providing a home for a woman who couldn’t live in her own home right now.  This was while the class was talking about how to keep doing the work that Dr. King taught.

Let’s stay in conversation with each other about how this is impacting us, and how we are caring for ourselves and one another.


Columbus Dispatch Growing sanctuary movement an act of resistance to immigration policy, activists say Resistance can take the form of marches and protest, but it also can be as simple as offering hospitality in an inhospitable world.

10TV Some of the Columbus community have hopes to start a “sanctuary movement”  A woman living in sanctuary at a Columbus church is fighting to stay with her family. Edith Espinal is an undocumented immigrant, facing deportation. She and others just like her across the country shared their stories with the community, hoping to start a “sanctuary movement.”

ABC6 Immigrants living in sanctuary to avoid deportation share their stories Immigrants from various American cities, including Columbus, shared their stories at a Columbus church. Columbus Mennonite Church hosted the event Tuesday night. The Clintonville church is where Edith Espinal has been living for 110 days.