Immigrants and immigrant communities all over the country are in hiding and people are living in these terrified, terrorized ways, because that is the point of this whole action, whether enforcement actions take place or not.
Mary Bauer, the Southern Poverty Law Center’s deputy legal director
The recent deportations raids and threats of raids are terrorizing families.
AFTA stands with families threatened by these unjust, hateful political actions.
We, AFTA, are a community. Though geographically disparate, we are a community of professionals and scholars committed to the health, safety and well-being of all families and communities. We challenge oppressive, unjust institutional policies and practices.
In this, we are not alone.
We celebrate courage with our AFTA community members in Chicago, whose Mayor, Lori Lightfoot, ordered the city’s police department not to cooperate with ICE, issued protocols advising all employees of city-owned facilities (e.g., libraries, park buildings, senior centers and schools) not to cooperate with ICE, and “significantly increased funding for the city’s legal defense fund to offset legal costs for undocumented Chicagoans.”
We stand vigil with our AFTA community members in more than 900 towns and cities, who participated in Lights for Liberty events protesting the inhumane conditions faced by migrants.
We sing out in gratitude alongside our AFTA community members in Houston, heralding the faith leaders that offered their churches, mosques and synagogues as sanctuaries to families terrorized by the prospect of detention and deportation, and the elected officials who decried the raids as actions “against everything we represent as a welcoming city.”
We join our AFTA community members in Atlanta in honoring the integrity of their neighbors, members of a Jewish advocacy group called Never Again Action who put their bodies in the way of the ICE offices to prevent the detention and deportation of other humans.
We espouse our admiration with those AFTA community members in Los Angeles, whose Mayor, Eric Garcetti, declared allegiance with “our immigrant brothers and sisters” stating that, “No Angeleno should ever have to fear being snatched from their home or separated from their loved ones."
We hungrily embrace inspiration with our AFTA community members in New York State, where immigration rights activist Bryan MacCormack, Executive Director of the Columbia County Sanctuary Movement, modeled the value of knowing our rights and exemplified the power of an informed individual in the face of an abuse of power.
We sit in awe with AFTA community members in New York City, in learning of the valour manifested by families in Harlem and Brooklyn that refused to open their doors to those ICE officers demanding illegal entry.
AFTA is a community whose members enact, witness and carry with them stories of resistance and resilience. We invite you to share these stories so they might do what stories of resistance and resilience do- Nurture our hope, inspire our sense of “in-it-togetherness,” and sustain us in our efforts at change.
What have you been doing to protect terrorized families? What are your local, community leaders doing? Where are the helpers, the healers, the resistors?
Please share our invitation with others. Please respond on the listserv. Please join the conversations occurring in our committees as AFTA is committed to standing up, standing together, and engaging in dialogue in support of all families and communities.
Ours is a collective voice. We want to hear from you.
For up to date resources please see:https://www.immigrantdefenseproject.org/community-responses/
Sarah Berland, LCSW
Family Policy/ Human Rights Chair
Amy Tuttle, PhD