Conversations With Friends

A nonprofit organization

100% complete

$5,000 Goal


Conversations with Friends (CWF) is an all-volunteer, humanitarian organization whose members support people jailed by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) at the Freeborn, Kandiyohi and Sherburne County jails in Minnesota. In addition to weekly Zoom visits, currently remotely with the detained gentlemen at the Freeborn County Adult Detention Center, we have the privilege and the honor of writing weekly to people jailed by ICE in all three county jails. They are experiencing fear, loneliness, isolation, hopelessness, depression, trauma and emotional torture in response to the inhumanity, injustice and incivility of the U.S. immigration system as most await likely deportation and face likely separation from their family and friends. We let them know that people in the community truly care about them and that they are not alone, not abandoned. We offer friendship, fraternity and solidarity as we support, encourage, listen to, affirm, recognize the dignity of and advocate for them.

In addition to visiting and CWF letter writers sending weekly letters to their pen pals:

1) we communicate the names, phone numbers and in-take hours of the pro bono immigration law firms in Minnesota as well as info about the Minnesota Freedom Fund that may be able to provide assistance in paying bond if that is an option;

2) we expeditiously fulfill specific book requests;

3) CWF members of our CWF birthday club send birthday cards to people jailed by ICE such that many cards are received during their birthday week;

4) CWF members of our CWF Sunshine Club send cards of hope and encouragement to people who have been jailed for extended periods of time, letting them know that many people are thinking of them during these challenging times;

5) we make modest commissary deposits to those with little or no funds in their account who request economic assistance so that they can call family, purchase supplemental food and/or purchase hygiene items;

6) we respond to occasional calls from ICE and immigration attorneys to help someone being released by ICE reach their final destination, oftentimes purchasing bus tickets, driving them to the bus station and providing 'Dignity' backpacks as part of CWF’s Safe Release/Accompaniment Program;

7) we respond to the many letters we receive from people imprisoned by ICE at the Freeborn, Kandiyohi and Sherburne County jails who request that clothing be dropped off at the Whipple Federal Building in Fort Snelling, MN before their deportation. We place the clothing in ‘Dignity’ backpacks that are also filled with hygiene and other items and have extra room to store their legal documents;

8) we raise awareness by giving presentations to different communities as well as to government officials.

Note, though, that this is not a one-sided relationship where one person is the giver and the other is the receiver. We CWF volunteers receive from those with whom we have the honor and distinct privilege of writing and visiting. The gifts we receive are opportunities:

- to come to realize that people jailed by ICE are not “the other” but rather unique, vulnerable human beings like us;

- to affirm others, acknowledging the injustice of our immigration system and the pain and suffering and emotional trauma of awaiting likely deportation;

- to be that person who figuratively puts a hand on someone’s shoulder, letting them know that members of the community care about their health and safety, something that is so very important, especially for people who have no one;

- to witness the intense faith of many people who feel God has a plan for them and will accompany them on an uncertain journey;

- to practice our faith and serve others with compassion and love and, in so doing, serve our God;

- to be warmly welcomed/accepted as visitors and letter writers into their space;

- to personally learn of the injustice and indecency of our immigration system that jails people who have usually already served their criminal sentence and accepts deportation and the resulting family separation/destruction as an allowable form of punishment;

- to advocate on their behalf, e.g., by calling senators, congresspeople, family, friends and others, educating them about the struggles and realities of those detained based on our first-hand, personal knowledge;

- to get a sense of our own privilege by witnessing the pain that others are experiencing;

- to be enlightened by other people’s perspectives;

- to learn about our pen pals’ birth countries, e.g., favorite foods, important holidays, current conditions, and as a result create a stronger connection;

- to express our own hearts, after receiving letters in which our friends express theirs, and have an authentic relationship.

Organization Data


Organization name

Conversations With Friends

other names


Tax id (EIN)



Humanitarian Aid Volunteer

BIPOC Serving

BIPOC Serving


EDINA, MN 55435