On June 6, 1993, the Golden Venture ship ran aground with approximately 286 Chinese nationals aboard. Within two days, these men and women were transported by the INS to the county jail in York, Pennsylvania, and other detention facilities across the country. Fleeing political persecution and coercive population control policies, these individuals seeking asylum had no voice in a complicated, American immigration legal system.
The York community responded to the indefinite detention of the Golden Venture passengers with impassioned legal advocacy and a vigilant spirit of community support. Their outrage fueled a shared commitment to the words inscribed on the Supreme Court entrance: Equal Access to Justice. Each person in our nation shall have equal access to justice. From this resolute belief in justice, the Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center was formed with the mission of providing equal access to justice to those who have no voice. Today PIRC continues to serve as a light in the darkness, a voice for the most vulnerable among us, and an advocate for those least able to access justice.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.
Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. ~ Margaret Mead
[photo: original art created by Golden Venture refugees.]