What’s going on in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania may not be at the southern border of the United States, but family detention is taking place here. The Berks County Detention Center, officially the Berks County Residential Center (BCRC), holds families in custody for extended periods. The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services revoked the facility’s license to operate more than two years ago, in February 2016, due to their failure to comply with regulations. Nevertheless, the state has not yet closed BCRC definitively.
For more information on the situation, refer to the website of the Shut Down Berks Coalition/Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition.
How has PYM been involved?
In the summer of 2018, the Young Adult Friends community was led to take up the concern of family detention in our region. Their epistle laid out a call to action to Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, and the yearly meeting minuted its support. The f/Friends involved in organizing the resulting action, set for the morning program in spring 2019 Continuing Sessions, have sought support from many partners in the community.
What do I need to know?
The action at Berks will take the form of extended, multi-generational, semi-programmed worship
- Young adults, and others with need, can register for no-cost bus transport from Philadelphia to BCRC, plus lunch for the day of the action.
- Let us know you’re coming by filling out the Registration for Continuing Sessions and clicking “Going” to RSVP on Facebook.
- English/Spanish interpretation will be provided throughout the morning.
- If you own a folding chair, or several, bring them along! Friends who might need to take a seat for part of our time at Berks will appreciate this, as PYM will not be able to provide chairs at the action.
- There is an alternative multigenerational program located at Reading Meeting led by Melinda Wenner Bradley (Youth Engagement Coordinator) and Amy Connelly (Children and Families program Assistant). The program at Reading Meeting 10am-12pm will focus on “Love Thy Neighbor” and how we welcome one another in our homes, schools and work, meeting communities, and PYM. There will be stories, sharing, and worship for all ages together.