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Indybay Feature
Santa Cruz Sanctuary Assembly
by Paul Johnston
Wednesday Dec 21st, 2016 2:39 PM
Members of the community came together to build the sanctuary movement in Santa Cruz.
On Thursday December 15 in Santa Cruz, sanctuary movement volunteers assembled at Democratic Party headquarters in the Galleria downtown. We packed the room and spilled out into the atrium. We shared information about solidarity action and opportunities to get involved.

This bulletin summarizes action now under way and offers links to groups involved; we hope you are inspired, as we are, inspire others to take up the cause of sanctuary. Resistance is the best therapy for what ails us.

Community organizations like SCCIP, the Day Workers Center, Senderos and Santa Cruz School District at Harbor High, Immigration Action Group and COPA are conducting "know your rights" and "family safety plan" workshops for undocumented residents facing what the ACLU calls "the deportation machine."

A new sanctuary movement has erupted in faith communities... Peace United Church is taking the lead, so far. James Weller read their draft Sanctuary Pledge, and described plans to reach out across the Central Coast; members of other congregation responded by pledging to begin the same process in their own congregation.

Sanctuary movement volunteers have established a Rapid Response Roster system for community resistance to ICE sweeps in our community, and are now working to incorporate text and phone capacity to produce a tool for targeted persons to summon witnesses, supporters and other help. Sanctuary Movement volunteers have launched a Facebook page -- calling on Facebook users in Santa Cruz to begin promoting sanctuary through social media.

Community organizations are beginning to follow the lead of Barrios Unidos to declare sanctuary. Students and community coalitions like Santa Cruz for Bernie and the Peoples Democratic Club are engaging in public protest that will surely grow in scale as inauguration day approaches, including organizing for "No Work, No School, No Business as Usual GENERAL STRIKE" on January 20, emphasizing immigrant defense.

Law enforcement leaders are reaffirming their commitment NOT to collaborate in federal immigration enforcement.

Some elected city council members, school board members and county supervisors are preparing formal actions to declare or update and strengthen sanctuary policies... and residents are mobilizing to lobby those boards and councils to ensure action is taken before Inauguration Day (Contact Santa Cruz and Watsonville city councils and Santa Cruz Board of Supervisors to express support... and save the date to mobilize on January 10, 2017... and if you'd like to join the lobbying team, send us an email. Christian and other clergy are planning to attend Friday prayers at our local Islamic Center on Inauguration Day.

Artists are beginning work to make our spirit of sanctuary VISIBLE in Santa Cruz. Send us an email if you'd like to help organize this effort.

Other residents are forming a team to challenge hate speech directed toward Mexicanos and others in schools, on buses and in other public spaces...send us an email if you'd like to get involved.

What is Sanctuary? Sanctuary means police non-collaboration with abusive immigration enforcement; churches, schools, homes and community organizations as places of shelter; rapid community response to reports of ICE incursions in our community.

But sanctuary is also safety from hate speech, resistance to stop-and-frisk racial profiling, to religious or other registries, to the new normalization of violent sexual assault and the defense of women's rights and GLBT equality. Sanctuary is not one secure community sheltering another threatened community, but ONE community sheltering itself.

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by A person with a soul
Saturday Dec 24th, 2016 6:58 PM
It is great how many people care for sanctuary of immigrants. I agree, but where are these same people when it comes to the illegal criminalization of homeless people in Santa Cruz. Do people not care about the civil rights of people who are criminalized for being poor without housing, for using blankets to shield themselves from the cold and elements, for relying on sleeping bags and tents to survive. Why is there no loud uproar! The homeless are not just addicts, they are made up of many kind of people: poor, disabled, victims of domestic violence, foster kids, people who lost their jobs, divorced, people who became poor from medical bills etc. The cracks are huge and getting wider every year one day it might be you or your family!
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