In our first session of Peacebuilders 2018, campers learned about the right every human being has to a nationality. A few months after camp, one of campers from that week, Haden, met a man wanting to claim that right. Along with his mom and sister and some friends, Haden visited at Stewart Detention Center, one of the largest immigrant detention centers in the United States. Here’s how Haden describes the experience:
“(W)hen we got there it was like a prison. There were fences everywhere, there were bars on the windows and barbed wire all over the place. It looked just like a prison from a movie. The first man we wanted to talk to refused to talk to us, but the second man did talk to us. The man we met was 30, and he was really nice and friendly. He was born in Sudan, but he’s lived here since he was a kid. I wished I’d talked to him more, which I feel bad for, but I can’t change the past. When I was at the Stewart Detention Center I felt a little nervous. I don’t like the way they treat people in these facilities and how they might hurt them. I don’t think that places like this should be around and I think people should just be able to move to our country without all this drama.”
We are always excited to learn about social justice actions that our campers take after camp. We’re especially proud of Haden for stepping outside his comfort zone, offering friendship to a stranger in a bleak situation, and being open to learning and thinking about the need for change.