Thoughts on "The Detention Lottery" 

May 7, 2019

Thank you, Plymouth for your support of this play. You showed up as actors, helpers and audience; without you, none of this could have happened.

We are grateful to J Wong who agreed to direct the play on a very short timeline, and to our stellar cast of Plymouth folks of all ages: Mike Pierson, Al Bentley, Karen Clark, Mari Mitchell-Putnam, Ruth Williamson, Warren Smith and John Daniels as Court staff along with detainees Garrick Dabbs, Medora Moburg, Karen Gwilym, Don Gwilym, Robert Naf, Mary Margaret Pruitt, Paige Nilles, India Dabbs and Betsy Hale. We were delighted with pre-play music provided by Jamie and Kyna Shilling, along with abundant refreshments prepared by Hospitality hostesses Jane Alley and Harriet Naf. Ushers Betty Eberharter and Amanda Dabbs helped with seating and programs. Photographer Bob Turner documented the action with amazing photos. Attorney Janet Gwilym expanded the presentation by sharing facts about our immigration system and answering audience questions after the play. Eyes were opened by learning that being married to a US citizen doesn't prevent a spouse from being deported, and that our laws requiring a public defender to handle a case when a person can't pay for an attorney don't apply because immigration cases are civil cases. Therefore, unless you can afford an attorney or receive pro bono services, you face immigration court alone, even if you are a young child.

The cast and audience shared feelings and comments including: “I'm angry, appalled, ashamed, distressed, moved; it was powerful, painful, superb, stunning; I'm thankful I know but at the same time wishing I didn't; reminds me of how it was in Germany at the buildup to World War II, grateful for the education. This can't go on. We need to use our votes and voices. If more Americans had to experience this system, no one would allow it to continue - it's only those coming from other countries who face the consequences of this broken system.”

The Detention Lottery rattled our comfort zones, and we can't stop there. Look for continued opportunities to learn and serve and productive ways to put faith into action, such as:

  • Join the Plymouth Immigration Ministry Team and attend other educational events we offer.
  • Donate and/or volunteer at Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) or AIDNW at the Tacoma Detention Center, The Church Council of Greater Seattle or other non-profits that support immigrants.
  • Contact your legislators and watch for candidates who support good immigration reform.
  • Continue to support our friend Jose Robles in Sanctuary at Gethesemane Lutheran church with encouraging notes and donations to his Legal defense fund.
  • Tell others about the power of this play. Playwright Margaret O'Donnell, put all of the materials on her website for free use in schools, churches and non-profits. A longer version of the play is being offered for the first time at 6:30 pm, Friday, May 24 at Fauntleroy Church UCC in West Seattle. Take a friend and go! – Plymouth Immigration Ministry Team


Topics: Church Life


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