Members of a religious coalition for social justice were disappointed on Monday when no city or county officials attended its Nehemiah Action to talk about accepting the Matrícula Consular as identification for Mexican immigrants in central Ohio. But they did secure a meeting with Franklin County Sheriff Zach Scott yesterday to discuss the ID card.
While a team of five met with Sheriff Scott and his staff, nearly 30 members of the interfaith group Building Responsibility, Equality and Dignity (BREAD) held a prayer vigil in the lobby of Scott's office in the Franklin County Courthouse. They quietly prayed, reflected, and sang "We Shall Overcome," pausing when the receptionist received phone calls and other staff conducted business in the lobby.
"As an organization we invite officials to come into our space, where thousands of us are gathered," said community organizer Rubén Castilla Herrera, a BREAD supporter who is affiliated with the Summit on 16th United Methodist Church. "But we also sometimes have to invite ourselves to come into their space."
"Justice confronts systemic and institutional evil," said Reverend Deacon Irene Radcliff of St. Philip Episcopal Church. "Justice is always revealed in our actions. Justice holds systems accountable, and it holds us accountable."
After the meeting, Sheriff Scott came out to the lobby and thanked the vigil participants for coming.
"The sheriff said 'yes' to all of the things that we asked," said Fr. David Schalk of Christ the King Catholic Church. "He agreed to attend an upcoming meeting with Columbus city representatives and Mexican Consulate officials to learn about the Matrícula Consular. He also agreed to meet with BREAD within 30 days of that meeting."
Sheriff Scott also agreed to send Chief Deputy Geoff Stobart to report at the BREAD Annual Assembly on November 10. "The sheriff's office is also finalizing a policy change to stop holding people for ICE once they no longer have an active charge," Fr. Schalk said. "They will send us a copy once it is finalized."