When ICE agents cornered a Hermitage man and his son in their car Monday morning, Stacey Farley was one of the neighbors who came to help. After a three and a half hour ordeal, no arrest was made.
Farley is a former vendor of The Contributor, and her husband Michael still sells in Hermitage and Franklin. They were experiencing homelessness when they started selling the paper back in 2014 — staying in a large encampment. Stacey and Michael were able to use the proof of income from selling The Contributor to get into an apartment in Madison in 2015, and into their home in Hermitage two years ago.
Can you tell me more about what you did to help your neighbor the other day?
I came outside about 8:15, noticed a black car and a white truck that had my neighbor blocked in. Some other cars had pulled up. I contacted Ingrid McIntyre [of Open Table Nashville] through text and she sent me some ICE paperwork, if they ever came to your home, what you could do. And I then went up there, made sure the little boy and the man was OK that was in the vehicle. I took them rags, water. My best friend got them gas, and we put gas in their vehicle. Another neighbor made grilled cheese sandwiches. I asked to see [the agents’] badge and their paperwork. They showed me their badge, but the paperwork they had was rolled up copy paper with nothing on it. I looked at them and asked if they packed a lunch and they said ‘no we didn’t get no lunch’ and I said ‘you might ought to get you some lunch because you’re going to be here a while.’
They saw gas going into the van, and [the ICE agents] was getting into their vehicles. We formed a human chain to get them out of their vehicles, to get them in their home, and we formed another human chain to make sure we could get them to safety.
We can’t make right what our parents do wrong or right. You gotta be there for the kids. And if anybody could have seen that kid’s face, I hope they would have had the sympathy to help their neighbor in a situation like this. They were just harassing the people in the van. It was unfair. It wasn’t right.
Had you gotten to know this family in the two years that you’ve lived in Hermitage?
Yes ma’am. Prior to this my grandson would go over there and jump on their trampoline. They are the nicest people. They go to work, they come home. They do their cookouts like everybody does on the weekends. They don’t bother nobody.
Everybody’s classified, it feels like in America. You’re either ‘illegal’ or you’re not. You’re low class, you’re mid-class, or you’re high class. We’re all classified somehow. This is America, we shouldn’t be classified at all. We all bleed the same way.
Do you find it especially important to get to know your neighbors?
Yes, most neighborhoods your neighbors don’t get out and meet each other. I get out and walk my neighborhood. I want to know who lives in my neighborhood. I’m raising my grandson in a world that don’t care, and I care. I want his environment to be safe. I want everybody to know, ‘OK that’s Mimi’s grandson, I know where he lives.’ I want people to know, if you’re in a community y'all need to come together as one.
Years ago, I was homeless and I lived in Tent City. And back in the day, Tent City was pure hell for people. We went in there and we made a committee, and people in Tent City respected that. It was a community, before the flood. Everybody checked on everybody. Nobody ever went without. If one had it the other had it. We need more communities in this world.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I hope that if it happened in someone else’s community, that they would do the same for their neighbor. Would I do it again? Yes, I would do it again.