Hundreds call for Whipple Building name change

Facility is headquarters for immigration enforcement

Al Schoch
October 29, 2019 - 12:22 pm
Whipple building protest



Several hundred people demonstrated at the Whipple Federal Building near Fort Snelling, demanding a name change to the facility that houses immigration offices and detainees.  

They tried to get inside the building to meet with detainees but were turned back by Homeland Security officers.  

Lisa Weems Heinstone says their meeting with officers was peaceful.

"We weren't seeking to be arrested today," she said. "Our aim was just to make the statement that we wanted access to provide spiritual care to the people in the building, and that we would not be allowed to."

The demonstrators then turned toward the building marching on the sidewalk for one final stand near the front door.

It was a door that displayed the sign Bishop Henry Whipple Federal Building.

 Henry Whipple is Minnesota's first Episcopal bishop, and was an advocate for the welfare of Native Americans at the turn of the 20th century.  

Bishop Whipple died in 1901 in Faribault and has several Minnesota buildings named after him.

This one, nort far from Fort Snelling, is the only federal building named for the bishop.  

"What is happening to immigrants in the Bishop Henry Whipple buidling is in direct oppostion to the values, theology, and policy of the Episcopal church," said protest organizer Devon Anderson. "To us, it in an intolerable irony to have the nmae of the first Episcopal bishop of the state of Minnesota, an icon of human rights and compassion on the front of this building in which so much injustice and cruelty occurs."

The group also called on Governor Walz and lawmakers at the capitol in St. Paul to do what they can to make Minnesota a sanctuary state for immigrants.


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