Public Witness

Preparing for Pilgrimage

Allison Tanner

May 27, 2022

Several Lakeshorians will participate in a Pilgrimage for a Better Future: From the Heartbreak of Immigrant Detention to Thriving Communities from May 28 – June 1. This pilgrimage is an interfaith, spiritual pilgrimage to bear witness to the preventable human suffering caused by immigrant detention in California. This pilgrimage is a prayer for the closure of these immigrant detention facilities, for the safe releases of those on the inside, and for the transformation and thriving of local communities in our state.

As Lakeshore has lived out its commitment to be a Sanctuary Congregation, we have learned that immigration detention is unjust, unnecessary, and inhumane. This pilgrimage, composed of community members who have been detained, faith leaders, and leaders in the movement to transform carceral systems, will stop to gather in reflection, prayer, and action at the seven remaining ICE detention centers in the state and other significant sites along the way. I invite you to join the pilgrimage in prayer, attend a local vigil on May 28th, and attend virtual vigils throughout the journey. You can find info on how to participate here.

In preparation for the Pilgrimage, I was asked to reflect on the questions below. I share my responses as a reminder that my journey is in many ways our congregational journey, and I look forward to joining with the Lakeshore pilgrims to share our experiences upon our return.


Pastor Allison

What is calling you to go? What do you seek to learn?

  • LABC’s commitment to welcome the immigrant, love our immigrant neighbors and release the captives
  • Gain deeper understanding of the injustices of immigrant detention, how they intersect with the injustices of incarceration, the work that is being done to challenge immigrant detention and mass incarceration and how I/we can participate in this work

What do you seek to heal or to love? What or who are you carrying with you?

  • I carry with me Sergio, Oscar, Charles Joseph, Danny Thongsy and their loved ones. I carry with me the immigrant community at Lakeshore who continues to navigate their way in a country that doesn’t always provide welcome and needed support. I carry with me my immigrant family members: my sister who was an Ethiopian refugee, my husband and in-laws, and my immigrant friends whose lives have been deeply impacted by our backlogged and broken immigration system.
  • I seek to honor the relationships I have with immigrants and with those who’ve been harmed by immigration detention, racism, and xenophobia. I seek to bear witness to the harm of government systems that cause them pain. I seek to pray and work with the powerful communities of resistance who are actively challenging immigrant injustice, closing detention centers and creating healthy futures for our communities and everyone within them.

How is your life story connected to the story of people in detention?

  • Our communities are diminished and harmed by the injustices of immigration detention, by the isolation and removal of needed and cherished immigrant community members, and by the lack of ability to embrace and incorporate the gifts of every person living in our community. We cannot love our immigrant neighbors without challenging the systems in this country that are causing great harm.