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Deported without warning: How the loss of a father in Newark is affecting a community (PODCAST)

Acting in Faith  |  By Madeline Schaefer, Jun 7, 2013
Newark immigration demonstration

Two participants in AFSC's Newark May 1st rally for humane immigration reform.

Photo: AFSC

In the middle of May 2013, Kofi (whose name was changed for this story) was detained and deported to his home country in Africa. The family he left behind—including a girlfriend and two childrenare struggling with his absence, unsure of their future or his fate. Listen to the story of this family, and hear how the AFSC community in Newark is speaking out against his deportation and others that tear apart families.

You can read AFSC staff member Elissa Steglich's account of Kofi's deportation Witness to a Family's Tragedy

To listen to more audios stories, see the Calling forth the Goodness podcast page. For more audio stories like this one, subscribe to the Acting in Faith podcast.

Transcript (Excerpt)

Madeline Schaefer:  On May 17th, Kofi, a man seeking asylum and working as a mechanic in Newark, New Jersey, who had fathered a child and was supporting a family, was detained and deported without warning. 

Kofi's girlfriend:  He left with nothing, no money, no nothing. No clothes.  He didn't even say goodbye to the children...and it's very hard.

Madeline Schaefer: How do you tell your four year old daughter that her father has been sent away, indefinitely, and contact with him is infrequent, at best?  Kofi’s girlfriend, who asked to remain anonymous for our interview, still struggles to find the words to tell her.

Kofi's girlfriend:  It's hard to explain because he has been with them since, especially her, since she was baby and he always took care of her. And now to explain to her that he's not coming back it's something so difficult for me to explain.  And every time she ask me why I start crying, she asks me what's wrong, but I don't know what to say.

About the Author

Madeline is the Friends Relations Associate. She grew up in the beautiful Radnor Meeting community outside of Philadelphia, and attended Friends Schools in the area until the end of High School.  After several years of studying and traveling, she returned to Philadelphia only to immerse herself once again in the stories, the culture and the spirituality of Philadelphia Quakers.  While living in collective house in West Philadelphia, she grew curious about the history of young Quaker activists in the neighborhood, and started an oral history project to find out more.  Madeline is interested in exploring the ways in which life in community can stretch our capacity for compassion and growth.  Her dream is to create more alternative communities of people learning how to live together, creating models for a society fueled by cooperation and love.

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About Friends Relations

Lucy Duncan and Greg Elliott work together and with other AFSC staff to foster strong relationships between AFSC and Quakers.

Lucy is AFSC’s Director of Friends Relations. She has been a storyteller for 20 years and has worked with Quaker meetings on telling stories for racial justice and of spiritual experience. She attends Green Street Friends Meeting (PhYM) and lives with her son and partner in a Quaker cemetery.

Greg is the Friends Relations Associate. He grew attending North Branch Monthly Meeting in the Poconos of Northeastern Pennsylvania. Greg currently lives in the Germantown section of Philadelphia.