It’s a hopeful sign to see so many people of faith offer their church buildings and other spaces to house people fighting deportation, and we also know that physical sanctuary is often a last resort. That’s why Love Resists is working with partners around the country to create a directory of accompaniment networks that support arriving asylum-seekers and community members facing deportation.
When we expand sanctuary into our communities by participating in accompaniment networks and sponsoring and hosting asylum-seeking families and individuals, we love in concrete ways. In an accompaniment model, there is much more that we can do to support people being criminalized for migrating and those seeking asylum.
We hosted a webinar on April 10th to help those interested in learning about accompaniment networks, grateful for all that is being done to open your hearts and homes even as hate tries to close our borders.
- The webinar opened with this video from Pueblos Sin Fronteras and closed with the song “We Shall Be Known”by MaMuse as sung by the Thrive Choir.
- The video recording and slides are here (and also here’s a PDF of just the slides). Participants also asked for the closed caption text and the chat box text.
More than 575 people registered from over 40 states for the session. Below are some of the resources participants asked for during the call. Many shared that they are already engaged in accompaniment networks. As mentioned on the call, we are part of an effort to help create a secure directory and are inviting all to share info about their network in this short form here .*
Follow Up Resources
Here are links to forms to express interest in sponsoring asylum seekers:
If you have more specific questions and would like a follow-up consultation, you can write to:
- For Sponsorship: Rev. Dottie Mathews at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- For Accompaniment: Susan Leslie at email@example.com.
- For more info about First UU Congregation of Ann Arbor’s experience: Cheryl Valentine at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Katia Hansen at UURISE (UU Refugee & Immigrant Services & Education) is also available for consultation on sanctuary, expanded sanctuary and more at Katia@uurise.org
Here are some stories of inspiration on accompaniment:
- Boston Globe: "Beyond sanctuary: A chain of helpers offers practical ways to support immigrants"
- San Francisco Chronicle: "For asylum seekers, a wall of support by a movement of strangers"
- First Unitarian Church of Des Moines, IA: "Journey of Accompaniment"
- PRI: "Arizona volunteers form ‘underground’ network to house migrants released by ICE"
Stories of inspiration on sponsorship:
- UUWorld, Unitarian Universalists offer homes to asylum seekers in caravan
- Immigrant Connect Chicago: How can someone become a sponsor for asylum seekers?
- Chicago Tribune: Central American mother, children from migrant caravan seeking refuge in Chicago
Models of Accompaniment Networks:
- Boston Immigration Justice Accompaniment Network
- New York City New Sanctuary Coalition
- Austin TX Sanctuary Network
- Freedom for Immigrants
Other resources that folks asked for over the course of the webinar:
The values of the Boston Immigration Justice Accompaniment Network:
* We honor people's dignity and choices in a system that denies dignity and choice.
* We expect messiness, confusion, and discomfort, and we also choose courage and trust.
* We judge the system, not people.
* We fight for one another as family, because we are.
More resources we recommend:
- Changing Systems Changing Ourselves (Video recordings of Anti-Racist Sanctuary E-Course)
- Flowchart about detention process
- Accompaniment After Detention Webinar from RAICES
- This American Life Podcast on ICE
- Radio Ambulante Podcast on Immigration Bonds
- Asylum Process Flow Chart
- What does it look like to try to immigrate to the US: one story
- Immigration system basics: A video from the "Try Guys"
- Spiritual Resources from Love Resists
- Self Care / Collective Care