July 4 Day of Action Highlights
On the Fourth of July, the Harding Center for Spiritual and Social Restoration held a Mourn-In and Day of Fasting outside the Cayuga Center, where immigrant children separated from their families are held during the day. Organized by Center co-founders Ruby Sales and Jacqui Lewis, the action called for mourners to gather on Independence Day in the spirit of Frederick Douglass, raising questions about celebrating liberty and justice while human beings are shackled by racism and xenophobia.
“To whom do the bodies and lives of Black and Brown families belong? Do they belong to the state or do they belong to themselves and God? What does the liberty that we celebrate today mean to children who are held away from their parents? We ask: What is a good sight of captivity? There are no good sites of captivity,” civil rights activist Ruby Sales asked the crowd to reflect during the Mourn-In.
The day of mourning, celebration, and fasting included a press conference, song, poetry, testimonies, eulogies, and a funeral procession. Pallbearers carried the coffins of the shattered pillars of democracy. There was also a hope chest into which aspirations for our nation’s future were offered. Mourners gathered in the solemn truth that none of us are free until all of us are free. They gathered to lament, sing, and share our vision for our nation to truly be under God's reign. And they fasted until evening as a symbol of our "zero tolerance" of the xenophobic and racist policies of this administration.
The Mourn-In was the first stop in the Caravans to the Borderlands movement, a movement that remembers the historical and systematic racism of our nation and draws hope from the wisdom of the civil rights movement and communities of faith that have resisted these practices for generations. It is multi-ethnic and democratized movement that has wide open spaces for everyone to bring their gifts to deepen collective thinking on a way forward. Jacqui and Ruby invite all to jump on board of the caravan, a 21st-century grassroots movement that redeems the soul of America by providing pathways that raise all from disposability to essentiality in the project of democracy.
Photos (c) Béatrice de Géa. All photos available on the Harding Center Facebook page.