Public Witness

Steps Toward Freedom

Allison Tanner

January 13, 2023



On Monday, I was able to accompany Sergio on his final step toward living freely in the United States. We went to San Francisco to have his ankle monitor removed. He has had to live for three years with a surveillance machine tracking his every movement. This is often a requirement upon release from detention. In addition to being a tracking device, these monitors control movement, invoke embarrassment/shame, and require constant attention (regular charging, occasional malfunctioning, spontaneous check-ins). While most people are willing to trade detention for this form of electronic incarceration (e-carceration), it brings with it a literal and symbolic weight that one carries with them wherever they go. With this country’s history of racially controlling black and brown bodies, there is a reason they are often referred to as modern-day shackles.

After tree long years, Sergio is finally free to regain control of his body, his movements and his life. Monday marked a significant final step on his journey to freedom in this country. It continues to be a gift to share the journey with Sergio – it reveals much about our country, the strength and courage of immigrants and the work of justice that still needs done. Please continue to pray for Sergio’s reunification with his family and I trust that the next time he plays soccer he feels a renewed sense of freedom both in his ankles and deep in his soul.

Onward together,

Pastor Allison

PS – I share Monday’s experiences with Sergio’s permission.

Our celebratory Nicaraguan feast!