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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:

Volunteering with Immigrants
Monday, March 5, 7:00 - 8:30 PM
The home of Susan and Alan Schulkin
Are you looking for a way to connect one-on-one with an immigrant or refugee? Come and learn about non-political volunteer opportunities for helping refugees and immigrants, including citizenship prep, literacy, and English language tutoring. Phil Welt is coordinating an informal panel to describe volunteer experiences and provide a resource sheet with information on local immigrant support agencies. Depending on your interests, skills, location, and time, there is probably an opportunity that will suit you. We hope you’ll leave inspired to connect and make a difference, one person at a time.  RSVP for address by emailing Susan Schulkin.

Immigrant Rights: Rethinking the Community Narrative
Sunday, March 18, 10:00 - 11:30 AM
Temple Beth Am Social Hall

How can we put a human face on Immigrant Justice?  Come and learn more about what it means to be an immigrant in the U.S.A. today, including the legal framework and process facing those who are classified as undocumented. Organized with help from the ACLU, our speaker at this forum will be immigration attorney Bob Gibbs, founding partner in the immigration law firm Gibbs Houston Pauw and a founding board member of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project.  Highlighting our state and local policies, he will present an overview of U.S. immigration policy and procedures, to help us better understand what rights we have, whether U.S. citizens or not.  We will share steps taken by Temple Beth Am as an Immigrant Justice Congregation and learn how we can support local residents vulnerable to deportation. 


Volunteer Opportunities:

Bilingual Hotline Volunteers
Besides bilingual English/Spanish volunteers, the Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network (WAISN) is looking for on-call volunteers who can respond to Raid Response Hotline calls in the following languages: Russian, Vietnamese, Somali, Ukrainian, Chinese, Korean, Tagalog, Arabic, Punjabi, Cambodian, Chinese-Cantonese, Marshallese, Samoan, Amharic, Chinese-Mandarin, Japanese, Rumanian, French, Nepali, Mixteco, Lao, and Hindi. If you are fluent in one of those languages, please email gerhard@washingtonjustice.org. The WAISN Raid Response Hotline is a resource for helping community members report ICE activity in their communities and dispatch volunteers to verify and document ICE raids. The hotline also connects family members of detainees to services and dispenses Know Your Rights information.