NOTE: Jean’s letter is addressed to the Rev Dr Donna Schaper, Senior Minister at Judson Memorial Church, where Jean and his family worship and where he helped to co-found the New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City.
York County Prison, York, PA
January 1, 2010
I have always been afraid that the day would come when I would not have the opportunity to say goodbye and to thank you and the whole congregation for their love and support that they have been giving me from the very first day that I came to Judson. For that reason, you may read this letter to the congregation for me during the service, and you may post it to the listserv. Thank you.
I love life; even though life has not been easy for me, I will continue loving it. At birth we call babies miracles, bundles of joy, we make promises to be there for them, to protect them and to cherish them, I will not be able to do that for my babies, their future is now bleak and very fragile.
It is important for the world to know that although I did break the law many years ago, I am not getting deported because of that, I am getting deported because of unjust laws, just like the ones before, which no longer exist and I know one day this same law that just destroyed my family will no longer exist.
I just want to thank everyone NO EXCEPTIONS all those who accompanied me to my check-ins and all those who did not get a chance to come but who showed me so much love and support. Thank you for showing me that there are people who care out there, for letting me know that it’s ok to help someone in need, thank you for showing me that no matter who you are or where you are from you are still a human being and you should be treated like one. I am so sorry that I will not have the opportunity to give back to Judson but I promise to take all the love that you guys gave me to share and spread it wherever life takes me.
Although I cannot remember everyone’s names I do want to recognize those who gave me so much and yet expected nothing in return.
Jane Treuhold, my Angel, thank you so much for everything. I am so sorry that you had to witness this, I saw the pain in your eyes when the officers were escorting me, it seems at Judson when you are friends, it’s for life so I know that we have not seen the last of each other.
There is only one Lenny Fox in this world and I am so grateful that I met him, thank you Lenny.
My best wishes for your wife Ginny.
Grace Goodman, I will never forget the welcome you gave me on my first day at Judson, I have so much love and respect for you, thank you so much for everything you did for me and for all you do for the New Sanctuary Movement.
Keen Berger, you put your reputation on the line for me from day one, before you even knew me, for you there was no limitation on what you would do to stop me from getting deported, for that I thank you so much.
Michael Ellick, I wishfully hope that you were getting deported with me; because I know then I would be ok, thank you for being the best friend everyone should have.
Donna, you treated me with so much love and you gave me so much, you made me feel like I was your son, I am so glad I met you and I cannot wait to see you again. Thank God you love to travel.
I have to keep this list short because I am afraid of forgetting someone, thank you to all the Susan(s), all the Jane(s), all the Michael(s), all the Martha(s), Bob Happy 82nd Birthday, bring your bike to Haiti.
Right now I am in York, Pennsylvania, they said that I would not be here for long, my next stop would be Texas from there to Santo Domingo then a bus ride to Haiti. I will keep you guys up to date on this journey. HAPPY NEW YEAR.