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Sanctuary Movement

"When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall do him no wrong. The stranger who sojourns with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Leviticus 19:33).

Brit OlamThis is the most-repeated commandment in all of Torah. With the Board of Directors' action, Temple Beth Am joins a growing cohort of Reform congregations that have signed on to the Religious Action Center's Brit Olam (Covenant with our World) and who have declared themselves to be Immigrant Justice Congregations. Further, we unite with a host of faith communities of all denominations across our region under the auspices of the Church Council of Greater Seattle (CCGS) who have pledged in various ways to support immigrants at risk of deportation. Go here to read the Board's Sanctuary Resolution.

Contact Susan Schulkin to find out how you can get involved. Here are examples of the range of volunteer activities for Sanctuary Action Team members:

  • Hands-on: Volunteers with expertise and availability may be able to help with a long list of tasks, such as running errands, shopping for food and supplies, translating, tutoring, providing mental health counseling, medical and dental care, legal advice, financial support, and offering companionship and moral support to immigrants hosted by sanctuary congregations.
  • Accompaniment: Volunteers will be needed to accompany undocumented individuals and their families to immigration check-ins and hearings. There is currently a high level of anxiety among non-citizens when they go for periodic ICE check-ins and having the support of compassionate lay people can make a difference. CCGS is preparing training materials and establishing a list of volunteers.
  • Solidarity training: Watch here and in eHappenings for information about Know Your Rights training and Bystander Intervention training.
  • Advocacy: Writing letters and emails, phoning, and attending rallies to support legislation or advocate on behalf of a particular individual may be solicited in partnership with other organizations. For more information on immigration issues and to keep updated on action steps and local opportunities for demonstrating solidarity, here are resources from four organizations we’re partnering with:

 Upcoming Events:

Colectiva Legal Del Pueblo's Gala Celebration
Friday, May 4, 6:00 - 10:30 PM
Highline College

Colectiva Legal is hosting its “Seeds of Liberation” celebration and fundraiser. To learn more about Colectiva Legal and purchase tickets or become a community sponsor, click here.

WAISN Rapid Response Training
Thursday, May 10, 6:30 - 8:30 PM
University Unitarian Church

The Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network (WAISN) coordinates a statewide Rapid Response hotline for reporting active Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) activity. When a call is received, text messages are sent to community volunteers in the vicinity who respond rapidly, going to the area with their smart phone cameras to document the activity. With this training, you can join others to help when there are incidents in the U-District, UW campus, or the neighborhood where you live or work. Our U-District team includes volunteers from eight nearby congregations. Register for this training.

Mother's Day Weekend Vigil
Saturday, May 12,  12:00 - 1:30 PM
Northwest Detention Center, Tacoma

Join Beth Am members and others from faith communities in the region at a vigil outside the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC) to show support for individuals awaiting immigration hearings or deportation. The NWDC is a private prison holding over 1,500 non-citizens in the Tideflats area of north Tacoma.

Northwest Immigrant Rights Project Annual Gala
Friday, May 18, 6:00 PM
Westin Hotel, Seattle

Cost: $150 per person
The Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) is the nonprofit that defends and advances the legal rights of thousands of immigrants every year. NWIRP works to keep families together, protects survivors of violence, and helps immigrants access new opportunities to work and pursue education. If you’d like to attend NWIRP’s Annual Gala and sit with others from Temple Beth Am and the newly formed Jewish Coalition for Immigrant Justice NW, please purchase your ticket here and list SAT member Diane Baer as your table captain.

Volunteer Opportunities:

Some University Unitarian Church members in our U-District Hub have recently opened their homes, offering short-term housing to those seeking asylum. This much-needed hospitality provides tangible support while immigrants await a work permit, the first step toward increased independence during the lengthy asylum process. The Church Council of Greater Seattle coordinates this process with congregants in the region. If you are interested in learning more about offering short-term housing, email Pam. If you are interested, but concerned about added household expenses, there may be funds to help.