JoAnn Weiss on “Bearing Witness: Visiting Immigrants in Detention”

JoAnn is chair of the board of directors of El Refugio,  a “ministry of hospitality and visitation serving immigrants at Stewart Detention Center and their families and friends.”

Indivisible Columbus supports El Refugio, and so do we.

At the El Refugio house in Lumpkin, family and friends of detainees can find support and a place to stay while visiting loved ones. The Stewart facility is one of a number of controversial privately owned detention centers that work under contract with the U.S. government to house immigrants awaiting deportation.

JoAnn has been an activist for social justice in Latin America since the early 1980s. In California, she worked with refugees and asylum seekers from El Salvador and Guatemala. In Nicaragua, she served as a witness to U.S. policies during the Sandinista revolution, and in New Mexico, she worked as a community organizer in border communities. JoAnn has been a UU for 25 years, and is a member of the UU Congregation of Gwinnett. She’s also an instructor at Gwinnett Technical College.  JoAnn and her husband Steve have raised two children: Josh and Isabel.

Our Sunday services begin at 10:45 a.m., but join us for coffee, refreshments and conversation at 10:15 a.m. Services typically are centered on a talk—either by a member of our Fellowship or by a guest speaker, like JoAnn. Services also include music, meditation and opportunities (always optional) to add your own thoughts. Unitarian Universalists (UUs) don’t share a creed. Rather, we support each other in our own free and responsible searches for truth and meaning. For us, dogma is less important than treating our fellow human beings with respect. And visitors are always welcome.

Here’s the rest of the Sunday schedule.

  • 9:15 a.m. to noon. Free childcare available.
  • 9:15 a.m. Adult Religious Education.
  • 9:15 a.m. Children’s religious education. Kids also learn about the world’s great religions and about respecting each other and the planet.
  • 10:15 a.m. Coffee and conversation before the service.
  • 10:45 a.m. The Sunday service.