“Ny, you are not alone.”

*response written by Sarah Lee, San Francisco Sanctuary Coordinator at Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity*

Dear Ny,

I am honored to hear from you and connect with you through this letter. My name is Sarah Lee, daughter and granddaughter of Chinese migrants from Guangzhou, Venezuela, and Canada. My work with Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity involves uplifting migrant voices in congregations across San Francisco to broaden and humanize the immigrant narrative, especially for those formerly incarcerated.

Ny, when I read your letter, I am struck by your resolve. Though I will never understand the extent of the pain you have gone through and continue to hold, your refusal to allow suffering to define you is powerful. As I allow your words to move me, I am certain that this belief in your own dignity is stronger than physical bars, stronger than any abuser or system that dares to threaten you.

As a minister, I come from a faith tradition that believes that the Divine exists in every human person, and therefore each of us is inherently sacred. To me, sacredness means our lives are precious, filled with purpose, and deserving of full honor and respect. Ny, you are sacred, your story is sacred, and your dream to advocate for other survivors of sexual abuse and domestic violence — this dream is sacred.

Deportation fails immeasurably to recognize your sacredness. And for every separation created through deportation, the larger community here becomes separated from our own humanity as well. We are losing our ability to recognize that sacredness in each other.

Yet, through voices like yours, you not only restore dignity within your own story, but also the humanity of whole communities. Through your leadership and encouragement, I will continue to fight alongside you and others for what is more humane, compassionate, and just.

Lastly, your questions about justice should be simple and clear — no more deportations, no more separation of families. But when these questions still remain, and if there is doubt, fear, or sadness in your heart — know that there is a larger community who struggles with you as well. Ny, you are not alone. I imagine a day when our response to your questions will fully recognize the sacredness we each hold.

I hope to celebrate your freedom one day very soon.

In love and struggle,

Sarah Lee

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