Reflections from a Day at the Northwest Detention Center

Crowd listening to a speaker

On February 23, several UUC congregants joined at least 200 others at the Northwest Detention Center. The event commemorated the 78th anniversary of the Executive Order that incarcerated 126,000 citizens and immigrants of Japanese descent during WWII. Today, thousands of immigrants and refugees are held in privately run prisons like the Northwest Detention Center.

Tsuru for Solidarity, a Japanese American organization, coordinated this event to protest the separation and incarceration of migrant families. They are allies with La Resistencia, and other activists, seeking to end immigrant detention nationwide.

Strings of bright paper cranes on a chain link fence

A reflection on the day from Kay Hubbard – “As we stood there witnessing, listening, feeling the pain from the past and present, I felt a mix of emotions…including dread that our country will refuse to learn from the past and will continue to build and fill more prisons. I also hold the image of several young kids holding the delicate, intricate, exquisite paper cranes that symbolize peace. And I believe that those imprisoned inside the NWDC heard the drumming, the singing, the voices of protest. So glad that some of us could be there together – with so many from the Japanese American community and other activists. These are surely times for holding hands as we take action.”

Links to Coverage of Sunday’s Day of Remembrance

  • 91.3 KBCS – Japanese Americans Elders Protest the Northwest Detention Center
  • Crosscut – A ‘trail of ghosts’ in Seattle, 78 years after Japanese incarceration

There are weekly events at the Northwest Detention Center, where you can show your solidarity with those being detained inside. Members of UUC’s Immigrant Justice Team regularly participate…if you would like to learn more, contact Kay Hubbard, Beth de la Fuente or Roberta Ray.  Click here to find out how you can add your voice. Just 45 miles south of Seattle, a visit will help you understand why so many are calling for a shut-down of this part of our government’s detention and deportation machine. UUC has signed on to the campaign to close the Northwest Detention Center.