What is sanctuary and how can we be involved?
Sanctuary is about the community coming together to protect targeted communities from state violence—including immigrants, people of color, targeted religious groups, or LGBTQ folks.
Some examples of solidarity actions:
- Welcoming undocumented people and providing physical shelter, providing assistance to families of people in Sanctuary
- Advocating to stop deportations (petitions, showing up at legislature, meeting with mayor)
- Public witness (vigils, marches, rallies)
- Direct civil disobedience (publicly serving as a sanctuary church)
- Nonviolent disruption (rapid response networks to witness or block immigration enforcement raids)
- Visit detainees, provide personal items and funds for phone calls, snacks, etc.
- Build relationships with community organizers and advocacy groups that represent and are led by members of marginalized groups in our area.
A way to help now:
As you know, the Omaha Area Sanctuary Network (OASN) has made a commitment to sponsor a family of six when the husband (Moises), who had been in detention in Georgia, was granted humanitarian parole so he can be free while going through the asylum process. Moises’ release happened very suddenly on Sunday, May 13th. Thank you to OASN and First United Methodist Church immigration team as well as many others for your support of this family.
One of the ways in which we will give our support is by providing meals. Some of you have already indicated a willingness to participate in this way and we are now in the process of setting up a schedule. A condition of parole is that the parolee is not allowed to have a job for the first six months of his parole. They may be able to get some assistance from local food pantries but this is very limited. Please let me know if you, or others that you know, would like to be included in this mission. Meal delivery can begin now that the family has an apartment.
It is our hope that we have enough people providing meals that you would need to do it just once every six or eight weeks. This would require:
a main course meal that can be heated or frozen for later use for six people – two adults and four children, ages 2, 5, 7 and 9;
delivering the meal in Hanscom Park – the exact address will be given when you sign up;
casseroles, soups, main course salads, sloppy Joes with buns, meatloaf, etc. - any meal that you would feed your own family;
there are no food allergies in the family but they don’t like liver!
If you are so inclined, feel free to throw in something extra e.g. personal hygiene items, laundry detergent, peanut butter, fresh fruit, healthy snacks, etc. This, of course, is not required.
If you wish to participate in providing meals, please send me:
Your phone number
Your email address
The best day of the week for you to deliver a meal (please list two)
I will put together a schedule and get it to you as soon as possible.
We know from past experience that things come up that can disrupt our best laid plans and we sometimes need to make changes to schedules. If you are scheduled for a particular week and find that you cannot do it, please try to switch with another person on the schedule or let me know that you are not available.
The family has been in the U.S. just since early February and their English ranges from very slight for the dad to almost none for the mom. The children are attending Field Club School in the OPS system and picking up English. So, unless you have some Spanish speaking skills, communication will be very basic. Please know that although they are rather shy, they are most grateful for all of the support they are receiving.
Thank you for your support!
Sanctuary Task Force Background
The Sanctuary Task Force (STF) was formed in the fall of 2017 by the First Unitarian Church of Omaha Board to explore the issue of Sanctuary. The team leader is Jeri Thurber. To read more about the Sanctuary Movement, please go to the UUA's website here:
Omaha Sanctuary Network Newsletters
Ways to Get Involved
The Omaha Area Sanctuary Network has an Accompaniment program in which we accompany undocumented immigrants to their scheduled court appearances and check-ins with ICE. In this way, we join with our neighbors in solidarity to both offer support to the person facing the proceedings and we let the authorities know that citizens are watching and that citizens care.
To this end we are setting up a telephone service whereby bilingual people will be available for perhaps one day a week to receive calls asking for accompaniment. FOR THIS WE NEED BILINGUAL VOLUNTEERS, and we will provide information and training needed for this valuable job. It is not time-intensive, and is a way to be involved with the accompaniment team if you are unable to attend hearings or check-ins.
The Sanctuary Network is also having a Network wide meeting at 6:30 on Tuesday, March 20 at First United Methodist Church, 7020 Cass Street, Omaha in Room 112 (enter at the rear of the building through door 6) to update what has been happening with the organization, what we are currently focusing on, and ways you can help. There will be an opportunity for open questions, comments, and discussion.
If you would like to be involved with the Omaha Area Sanctuary Network, please come to the meeting on March 20 and/or contact Jeri Thurber at firstname.lastname@example.org.