Dubuque Sisters Commemorate Postville Raid

22 May, 2018

Pictured above, back row: Sisters Ann Jackson, Martha Donnelly, Paula Schwendinger, Annette Kestel, Sheila Ann Dougherty and Joy Peterson; middle row: Sisters Elena Hoye, Anne McCormick, Dolores Moes and Dolores Zieser; Front row: Sisters Rosalyn Ulfers and Beth Driscoll. Also present were Sisters Julianne Brockamp, Carmen Hernandez and Maura McCarthy.

On Friday, May 11, 2018, several Dubuque Presentation Sisters, along with hundreds of other people, attended a commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the Postville, Iowa, immigration raid at the Agriprocessors Kosher Meat Plant. Based on the words of writer Mary Jo Leddy whose work describes the disruption newcomers and immigrants bring to our lives as a summons to a new sense of ourselves, the theme of the day was Summons. (The Other Face of God. Orbis 2011)

It was a time to remember the 389 persons who were arrested on May 12, 2008; to recognize this defining moment as a Summons to challenge current anti-immigrant rhetoric and behaviors; and to unite in demanding just, humane and comprehensive immigration policies for the United States.

The day began with an Interfaith Prayer Service at St. Bridget Catholic Church in Postville. This church was the central shelter and gathering place for frightened family members and immigrants in the immediate aftermath of the raid.

The prayer was followed by a rally that included speeches from people directly affected by the raid, church representatives who ministered to the immigrants and their families, lawyers who witnessed the injustice and others concerned about immigration reform. The calls for reform were especially significant when just three days before this remembrance on May 9, 2018, another raid of a company had happened just 90 miles away from Postville.

Participants left with the resolution to share the hope and messages of the day with church and civic leaders, family, co-workers and neighbors.