HARTFORD – Hundreds of protesters gathered in front of the Abraham A. Ribicoff Federal Building and Courthouse on Monday demanding the Trump administration reunite children who’ve been separated from their migrant parents in recent months. Others called for and end to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency. Thirty five protesters were arrested, including two UCC pastors.
Rev. Stephen Camp, pastor of Faith Congregational Church, was the first to be arrested, charged with breach of peace and trespassing after he stood blocking the entrance to the building.
“The church really does have a voice in the intersection between the church and the state and this is one place where that voice is important,” said Camp after he was released with a summons on Monday.
Camp had been asked to participate and spoke with his congregation about the need to be that voice during Sunday’s sermon. He said the congregation was “100% with me and whatever I needed to do today.” Faith Congregation Church members have even explored what it would mean to be a sanctuary church.
Also taking an arrest on Monday was the Rev. Gini King. King, a retired UCC pastor and former Interim Regional Minister for the South Central Region, raised a fist to the cheering crowd as she was led away from the building by Hartford police.
Connecticut Conference Minsiter the Rev. Kent Siladi joined the protest on Monday and spoke to the crowd.
“As an ally and a faith leader, I am committed to the sacredness of every single life,” said Siladi. “We imagine a world with immigrant detention. Criminalization and inflicting violence on our neighbors must stop. ‘No ban, no Wall, no cages.’”
Michele Mudrick, legislative advocate for the CT Conference who has worked to promote state legislation to protect immigrants, joined the protest. “I’m a parent to two kids,” said Mudrick. “I can’t fathom not knowing where my kids are. The ramifications are catastrophic when kids — young kids especially — are separated from their parents.”