Love is Sanctuary

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Photo: AFSC/Pedro Rios

“Love is sanctuary, a safehaven and place to rest.” – Theodore Volgoff

What does “sanctuary” mean to you? When do you feel as though your heart can rest, as though you are in the place where the tensions and furor of the world is released, the place where you feel you can be your whole and most clear self?

For me this comes in meeting for worship, in the company of certain loved ones, when I walk near a creek or river. I had a conversation recently with an anti-racist activist I admire and felt the whole conversation offered sanctuary.

But for too many, sanctuary is elusive—for undocumented immigrants, for Black people targeted by the police, for Muslims, for queer and trans folks. Walking down the street can feel perilous as the systems of state-sanctioned violence, white supremacy, homophobia, xenophobia render so many vulnerable.

In response to the rising tide of hate and oppression, AFSC and community members across the country are coming together to create a sense of Sanctuary Everywhere—working as activists and people of faith to create the sense of fairness and sacred space for all people. We long to create Sanctuary Everywhere so that refuge from oppression isn’t needed anywhere.

Starting this month, AFSC will offer a series of free webinars to share what we’ve learned about how to support and work for Sanctuary Everywhere in local communities.

You can sign up today to join our first webinar.

These interactive sessions will help you create Sanctuary Everywhere in a range of ways—from learning how to intervene when you witness public instances of racist and other forms of oppressive violence and harassment to working for sanctuary policies in your school or community.

Our first webinar will take place on Sept. 21, from 8:30 p.m. EDT// 7:30 p.m. CDT // 6:30 p.m.  MDT// 5 p.m. PDT.

This will be an interactive introduction to Quaker Social Change Ministry, a model for congregations and others to work for social justice in small groups using spiritual practices and focusing on accompanying organizations and people most impacted by injustice. I will be leading this session with Gabriela Flora, AFSC immigrant rights organizer in Denver.

Find out more and register here.

I hope you will join us for skill-building and learning in the months ahead, so that all of us can work to create Sanctuary Everywhere.

In Peace,
Lucy


Lucy Duncan
AFSC Director of Friends Relations

Register Here

American Friends Service Committee
1501 Cherry Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102
United States

AFSC Against DACA Termination

Quaker org speaks out against DACA termination

PUBLISHED: SEPTEMBER 5, 2017

Photo: AFSC

WASHINGTON, DC (September 5, 2017) Today, the Trump administration announced that they would rescind Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program that has provided temporary deportation relief to almost 800,000 people who came to the U.S. as children. The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) – a Quaker organization that has worked for immigrant and refugee rights for almost 100 years – condemned the decision.

“The decision to rescind DACA is an inhumane attack on young people, their families, and our communities,” said Kristin Kumpf, AFSC’s Human Migration and Mobility Director. “This decision puts thousands of young people at risk of deportation, and a six-month delay does nothing to mitigate that. We support DACA because we strongly believe that no one should be deported.”

Since the DACA program was announced by executive order in 2012, AFSC has been involved in helping people sign up for the program, providing know-your-rights information,  advocating for DACA expansion (which was effectively blocked by the Supreme Court in 2016), and mobilizing constituents to contact their congress people in support of the program.

“DACA has created opportunities for young immigrants to work, pursue educational opportunities, and support themselves and their families,” said Chia-Chia Wang, Organizing and Advocacy Director in AFSC’s Newark office. “In the absence of just and humane immigration policies, the program provided some necessary relief for thousands of people. These protections should be expanded, not rescinded.”

Many DACA recipients have also spoken out about how DACA has impacted them and why future programs or legislation need to be expanded. “As an undocumented student, I was able to benefit from DACA. This enabled me to continue my education, get a job with AFSC, and pursue a master’s degree,” said Jesús Palafox, Regional Administrative Associate in AFSC’s Chicago office. “DACA has been very helpful to me, but I am just part of a tiny minority of millions of people living in this country who need to be able to adjust their status. We need solutions that include everyone.”

Despite the setback, AFSC and immigrant rights groups across the country say this movement for immigrant rights, family reunification and social justice is not over. “We will continue our work – in the courts, in our communities, and in the streets – until everyone has access to legal status,” said Kumpf.

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The American Friends Service Committee is a Quaker organization that promotes lasting peace with justice, as a practical expression of faith in action. Drawing on continuing spiritual insights and working with people of many backgrounds, we nurture the seeds of change and respect for human life that transform social systems.

How to Offer Sanctuary

Learn how to offer sanctuary

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Dear Friends,

I get at least one call per week from Quaker congregations asking about congregational sanctuary. Since the rate of arrests leading to deportation has risen 38 percent and immigrants are afraid to attend immigration check ins because many are being detained and deported, the need for congregations willing to stand up and offer safety and refuge for immigrants is growing. Join our national call on July 13th from 8 to 9:30 pm ET to hear from people across the country who have direct experience with sanctuary.

Conference Call: How to Offer Sanctuary 

Thursday, July 13, 2017 @ 8pm EDT // 6pm MDT // 5pm PDT

Presenters will include:

  • Pastors and a Quaker leader who have offered sanctuary in their congregation.
  • An individual who has lived in sanctuary.
  • An attorney who can help participants understand the legal challenges of sanctuary.
  • Experienced community organizers at the local and national levels.

The call will be in English with Spanish interpretation on a separate line. Please share with groups and individuals who may be interested.

Register Here! 

In Peace,

Lucy Duncan

 

 

American Friends Service Committee
1501 Cherry Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102
United States

Immigrant Rights

Immigrant rights

Accompaniment of Manuel in Denver. Photo: AFSC/Gabriela Flora

Dear  Friends,
Like many of you, we at AFSC have spent much of the past two weeks grappling with the results of the election and what they mean for communities across the U.S.We don’t know what the next administration will bring, but there’s no doubt that immigrants and refugees face greater danger because of this election.

We must affirm our deeply held beliefs, rooted in Quaker values, that all people have a right to migrate as well as a right to stay in their home country safely and securely.

Now more than ever we must continue to speak out against anti-immigrant and other xenophobic rhetoric, stand up against immigrant detention and deportation, and call for policies that respect the humanity and dignity of all people.

Since the election, the U.S. has seen a rise in incidents of xenophobic and racist harassment. The president-elect has said he would revoke immigration benefits that were issued by President Obama, fulfill his campaign promise to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, and punish cities that refuse to cooperate with his harsh immigration enforcement policies. These changes would devastate all of our communities. To effectively push back, we must take our lead from those who will be most impacted by the terrifying policies that Trump has proposed—immigrants themselves. Across the country, we’ve seen success where movements do just that.

Immigrant communities have been the targets of mass detention and deportation for decades. These policies have taken a tremendous toll on immigrants, their families, and our communities, but have also had the unintended consequence of creating communities that are mobilized and resilient.

We at AFSC are committed to continue our work with and among these communities, as we have for decades, providing direct support and pushing for policy change at the federal, state, and local levels.  Today, with the stakes higher than ever, we hope you will continue to stand with us.

Expect to hear more from us on ways to take action during this new administration, but here’s something you can do right now: Help us change the narrative around immigration.

Here are some resources on how to have these difficult conversations about immigration with people on Facebook and when talking to your friends and loved ones this holiday season.

This election demonstrated the extent to which immigrants are scapegoated for our country’s social and economic problems—and what happens when politicians take advantage of that. We have the power to challenge those harmful narratives.

Use these tips to help you respond to common anti-immigrant argumentsThese conversations can be hard, but they are necessary to build the inclusive country that we all deserve.
Thank you for all that you do.
In love and light,

Kathryn Johnson
Office of Public Policy and Advocacy

Brattleboro says #NoDAPL

In Solidarity with the AFSC there will be a rally today in Brattleboro.

Brattleboro says #NoDAPL

Start: September 13, 2016• 3:45 PM
End: September 13, 2016• 6:00 PM
Pliny Park• High St/Main St, Brattleboro, VT 05301

Join us on Tuesday, September 13 for a solidarity action and rally at Pliny Park at 3:45 calling on President Obama to instruct the Army Corps of Engineers to revoke the permits for this dirty oil pipeline. After assembling at the park we will move as a group to a location downtown to make our voices heard.

We will begin by gathering at the park, learning from (and about) each other and then at about 4pm move together to Main St to call on President Obama to revoke the pipeline. There will be sidewalk chalk for children to use to tag the streets with words of support for the water protectors. After assembling as a group some of us will move to TD Bank to demonstrate our disapproval of their part in the pipeline construction. Let us be colorful, joyful and positive!

If you haven’t read about it in the media, right now there is one of the most courageous stands against a fossil fuel project this country has ever seen. The movement to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline is growing stronger by the day, and it’s time for all of us to rise up and play a role in this fight – no matter where we live. If built, Dakota Access would carry toxic fracked oil from North Dakota across four states and under the Missouri River, immediately upstream from the Standing Rock Sioux Nation. That makes it a threat to the sacred land and water of Native communities and a disaster for the climate.