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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 Duncan
AFSC Director of Friends Relations

Register Here

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

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