Under the Canopy

The gusty winds of October 28 brought us a guest. “D.” was released from Stewart Detention Center after being held for nine months as he sought asylum. We rejoiced with D. upon his release as he accomplished a rare feat – he was granted asylum by Judge Dan Trimble. According to Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse of Syracuse University, Judge Trimble has a 95% rejection rate of asylum cases, making him one of the strictest immigration judges in the nation.

During his brief visit, he introduced me to Nigerian gospel singer Frank Edwards. D’s favorite Edwards song includes these lyrics:

Oh yes, you cover me
Under the canopy
Give me security
I am the righteousness of God

I often think of our hospitality as a gift of security, a refuge to strangers seeking respite after a long and arduous journey. And I’d still like to believe that’s true, but D. is an overcomer whose life and example remind me that he was our gift (too). 

D. is from a Central African country that has been in crisis for four years. Lawyers, teachers, and students such as himself have been mobilizing for more representation in the federal government. Violent repression has been severe. Government security forces in D.’s country have killed civilians, torched villages, and used torture and incommunicado detention. Armed separatists retaliate using similar measures, especially targeting teachers, students, and government officials. D. was a university student studying agriculture.

D. and his family know first-hand the trauma of state violence. That’s why he fled; first to Eurasia, then South America, through the treacherous Darien Pass jungle region between Colombia and Panama, across Central America and Mexico, only to then be confined for an extended period in a for-profit immigration detention center here in the U.S. without any government-provided legal representation. Trauma upon trauma upon trauma.

But D.’s spirit knows a song of redemption:. 

Oh yes, you cover me.
Under the canopy
Give me security
I am the righteousness of God

When the security of nation-states failed him, D. found peace in a broad canopy that holds all things together in love. When far-from-righteous politicians and corporations turned his life into a living hell, D. knew his identity as a beloved child of God, and that was his security.

The next time I feel anxious or fearful, I will remember D., play Frank Edwards’s catchy tune, and dance under the canopy.

4 thoughts on “Under the Canopy”

  1. Hi Anton, Thanks for letting me know about “D”! Does D get to stay with a green card? Or is he planning on continuing his journey up North?

    *Free Polazzo *

    * Douglas County Democratic Party Voter Protection Coordinator*

    *Black Lives Matter! * Be Brave Be Active Vote Early!


  2. Dear Anton, deepest gratitude for your path, for all you are and do, for this story, for this song. Holding you close in heart, you and Charlotte….ever grateful, Jean


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