On Monday, members of the Jubilee Housing family stood with hundreds of neighbors, friends, and activists to protest the previous weekend’s raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents who tore apart families in our Columbia Heights community, in violation of everything Jubilee stands for.
We find it unconscionable that individuals who have put down roots in our community, are contributing to our common good, and raising their children to love this country are being torn from family and home, like a piece of fabric being ripped in two. We understand that immigration is a complicated policy and political issue. It’s also a human tragedy, and when it’s in your neighborhood, it’s not theoretical any more. Three hundred yards from Jubilee’s back door, it’s a direct hit.
We see from where we stand, as a time-honored phrase reminds us.
Societies evolve to benefit those with privilege, that is with power and resources. The Biblical Jubilee—in the spirit of which Jubilee Housing was founded—was an impulse to reset the rules of the game, to undo the generational effects of structural injustice, to re-unite the human family and remind us that, at one time or another, we all have been outcasts.
These days, we are experiencing an acceleration of divisiveness and hate toward greater numbers of our human family. We are witnessing increased injustice toward those who are different from us and against whom the deck is already stacked, many of whom are seeking only what we all have sought—a better life for our families and ourselves. Yet they are being cast out by those with privilege and those who aspire to it.
When you stand with people, stand by their side as equals, you come to see the world differently. You choose to see the world through others’ eyes.
At Jubilee Housing, we have long stood with those who have been left out of the mainstream, subject to separation, and most in jeopardy. Today, we affirm that among those are the many families who fear being deported. We stand with them.
Our purpose at Jubilee Housing is to break down structural injustice through housing and opportunity. We stand for justice housingSM, where all people can find homes they can afford, with the supports needed to thrive, in neighborhoods that offer easy access to essential resources—such as good schools, public transportation, and healthy food choices. We also stand for the inclusion, respect, safety, and a path to success in life that comes from justice housing.
D.C. government’s stance as a sanctuary and our mayor’s commitment that all District residents matter are vital, but we are learning that they will not stop the war against the poor, outcast, young, and any deemed “other” that results from unexamined generational power and privilege. Those in power will be moved to kinship only when they can see and experience a community where all that has been excluded is valued.
In the words of the Reverend Gregory Boyle, the founder of Homeboy Industries, what needs to be disrupted can be, when we stand in solidarity with outcasts. Standing with those who are different from us, seeing through others’ eyes, becomes an act of visible protest that can change hearts and inspire justice.
When we choose to stand with—and there are innumerable ways we can do so—we create a community of resistance.
Where do you stand today?
Who do you stand with?