Why Philly is NOT a Sanctuary City

Photo by Hope in Focus Steve Pavey at the DNC 2017 in Philly

Philadelphia has been seen nationally as one of the cities to emulate as far as policies go in separating police and ICE and we couldn’t be prouder of our communities that led this fight and our allies and elected officials that have stood with us to protect our families. This was a movement to create a change led by those most affected but we must be clear; Philadelphia is NOT and has never been a Sanctuary City.

ICE continues to deport our loved ones by either getting people on the streets or by raiding their homes. Because of data sharing through programs like PARS, ICE still has access to people’s information through the police database and we are still fighting to get many people out of detention. What Philadelphia does do is abide by the fourth amendment in that it requires ICE to produce a warrant signed by a judge if they want the city to hold someone. That.is.it. That alone does not make us a Sanctuary City, it makes us a city that abides by the constitution on this issue.

Because ICE is still allowed to roam our streets we have worked hard to educate our families on their rights and to ensure they are training others to protect themselves. Last year alone our leaders trained over 500 families on their human rights and their rights as it pertains to ICE and police and we will continue to do that as we build out Human Rights Zones across Philadelphia and the state;  neighborhoods committed to protecting all of us.

We are glad that our city took the initial steps to work with us but there is still lots of work to be done if we want to declare Philadelphia a sanctuary city, one not just for immigrants but for black and brown folks, poor people, workers, etc. This would have to include an end to low level policing policies like “Stop and Frisk” and an end to racial profiling and “Broken Window” policing, a commitment to release our loved ones from jail by ending the cash bail system, and doing away with ankle monitors that create prisons for our loved ones in their homes only for private companies to profit off of.  A sanctuary city would ensure that police are out of ours schools and instead focus on getting more funding to our schools and staff that are trained to work with our families and who look like us.

In 2016 we saw the rise of several anti-immigrant bills introduced at the state level, threatening to take funding away from cities that declare themselves sanctuary cities. Well, we are here to say that Philadelphia is NOT a sanctuary city. We must stop saying that we are. Until all of our families are protected from racism and racist policies, we won’t be and the word sanctuary has just become a trigger that sparks the right to move against us, sparked by their own hate and racism. We should only be using the word sanctuary if we are truly offering sanctuary and we are not. For example, Javier and Alma’s family have Javier in actual sanctuary inside of Arch Street Methodist church so ICE cannot get him to deport him but if he leaves he can be deported, because Philadelphia is NOT a sanctuary city.

We anticipate given the elections that we are to expect more anti-immigrant bills in 2017. We need to prepare ourselves for hateful legislation using anti-immigrant sentiment to attack policies that were put in place to protect poor people, workers, LGBTQ folks, women and of course black and brown families. Don’t be fooled and given the climate, we are recommending that all those looking to support immigrant communities…

  1. Stop using the word sanctuary to describe any work with the immigrant community UNLESS you are working to provide true sanctuary for our families from attacks, deportation, detention, etc. There is a long history in Latin America on the sanctuary movement that we think all people can learn from.
  2. We ask that you work with and take leadership from impacted communities at this time to pass policies that create the changes our communities have asked for for a long time.

Let us also clarify at this time that ICE is not in our schools (thank God) and through federal law ICE cannot get access to our student’s information. If ICE ever decided to come into our schools we will reach out to our allies at that time to stand with us and fight back. But what we do have in are schools are school police that we need out of our buildings, we have metal detectors that make our children feel like criminals, we have children being locked up with their mothers in Berks Family Detention Center who are seeking asylum. We also don’t have enough counselors to help our children get into high schools or colleges, we have teachers and staff who are not properly trained to support immigrant youth and their families who may be struggling with the deportation or detention of a loved one, we have overcrowded classrooms, schools that don’t allow our parents to volunteer because they are undocumented and very limited support on language access in our schools for our parents.

In our streets we are beginning to feel the affects of a Trump administration as some police officers have felt emboldened to more aggressively racially profile our families; denying translation services to those that need it, making stops and detaining people with little to no reason and threatening people with arrest if they stand up for themselves.  It comes as no surprise that some of these officers would behave this way given that their own union, the Fraternal Order of Police, endorsed Trump for president; a man who ran his campaign on anti-immigrant sentiment and anti-black policies.

The issues we are about to face are immense but let’s fight together with leaders from our community and for changes our families need and have been asking for, for a long time. Let’s make sure those who are in contact with our families are adequately trained on how to support them from deportations, from trauma and in how to access better educational opportunities.  Let’s work with other communities to put an end to “broken window” policing and policies like “Stop and Frisk.”

We respectfully ask that you stop using the word Sanctuary at this time; it is an inaccurate description of our city. Let us instead work together to build the kind of city we all want to live in, one that respect all of our HUMAN RIGHTS, regardless of race, gender, immigration status, sexual orientation, etc.

Juntos

Juntos files Urgent Appeal to United Nations on Family Detention

12744129_10205995667358523_6621489754869539870_nA broad coalition of 60 local, national and international organizations filed an urgent action appeal to the United Nations on October 26th, 2016, urging them to issue an opinion to the U.S. government to immediately close all family detention centers and end the practice of family detention.

For over two weeks expert rapporteurs from the United Nations’ Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) toured the United States in October, 2016. The WGAD consists of a panel of 5 experts from across the world and on Monday, October 24, 2016 released a statement with their preliminary findings on U.S. human rights abuses as it pertains to detention and incarceration abuses, including family detention. They said, “Various governmental, inter-governmental and advisory have recommended that family detention be abolished. The Working Group supports those conclusions.” We applaud the UN’s statement on family detention but we believe the urgency of these families requires more and immediate action as their human rights are being violated every day.

The urgent appeal details how family detention violates our families human rights because:

  • Deterrence Is Never a Legitimate Government Purpose for Family Detention.
  • Detention Violates the Best Interest of the Child.
  • Detention of Families Is Not Necessary Given the Alternatives that Exist.
  • Detention of Families Violates Federal and Local Law.
  • Family Detention Interferes with the Right of Refugees to Seek Asylum
  • The Process and Procedures for Detaining Families Is Unfair.

This appeal is also filed on the heels of the Department of Homeland Security’s own Advisory Committee on Family Residential Centers (ACFRC) announced that their own primary recommendation is to end family detention all together and that if family detention is to continue at all it must adopt all 166 pages of recommendations that they have put forth. The draft of the full report can be found here.

Erika Almiron, Executive Director of Juntos, said, “For far too long our families have had to wait to be free from the tortures of family detention. We filed with the United Nations today in hopes that the U.S. Government will see that the issue of family detention is now a global one, an international issue and the eyes of the world are watching. Human rights abuses are not just happening in other countries, but in our very own backyards and we must work together to put an end to these abuses.”

Download (PDF, 482KB)

This urgent appeal is filed and supported by the following organizations

Juntos

Grassroots Leadership

Social Justice Lawyering Clinic, Sheller Center for Social Justice, Temple University Beasley School of Law

Detention Watch Network

Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC)

Mijente

Not1More

The Kairos Center

Unitarian Universalist Service Committee

U.S. Human Rights Network

Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom

350 Philadelphia

ACLAMO Family Centers

ACT UP Philadelphia

Adjunct Justice

Alas Movimiento

Aquinas Center

Asian Americans United

Black and Brown Workers Collective

BuxMont Peace and Justice Committee

BuxMont Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

BuxMont UU Fellowship Peace and Justice Committee

Ceiba

Children’s Health Center

Clinicians for Healthy Families

Denver Health

First Focus

Franciscan Action Network

Free Migration Project

Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights

Global Women’s Strike/US & UK

Grupo de Apoyo e Integración Hispanoamericano

Guerrero Glass

Immigrant Detainee Accompaniment Program

JusticeStrategies

Lowry Family Health Clinic

Make the Road Pennsylvania

Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

Michigan Solidarity Network

Migrant Justice

Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Movement of Immigrant Leaders in Pennsylvania (MILPA)

National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd

National Justice for Our Neighbors

NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice

New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia

NWDC Resistance

Payday men’s network/US & UK

Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition

Philadelphia JACL

Philadelphia Storytelling Project

Provincial Council Clerics of St. Viator (Viatorians)

School Sisters of St. Francis

Unitarian Universalist Congregation of York Social Justice Committee

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Centre County, PA

Unitarian Universalist PA Advocacy Network

VietLead

Waco Immigration Alliance

Women of Color in the Global Women’s Strike/US & UK

Philadelphia’s Queer Latino Community Stands In Solidarity with Black Community Against Racism In The Gayborhood

Philadelphia’s Queer Latino Community Stands In Solidarity with Black Community Against Racism In The Gayborhood

 

PHILADELPHIA – Recent instances of anti-blackness and overall racism in Philadelphia’s gayborhood, have made the news on both citywide and national platforms. As any Queer person of color can tell you, this is not a new phenomenon. Anti-blackness, anti-immigrant rhetoric and discriminatory practices against our communities are a commonplace occurrence in Philadelphia’s gayborhood.

As Queer Latinos, surviving and thriving in the face of such a landscape, is part of the resilient history of our people. GALAEI’s foundational work has always been to create access to the resources of holistic health, safe space and community for Queer Latinos. Juntos’ long standing mission has been to fight for the human rights of our city’s immigrant communities which includes ensuring that our undocumented LGBTQ familia is able to live and thrive in a system that refuses to acknowledge their existence.  Our work collectively has helped build our community’s power, raised the voices of those most affected by these oppressive practices and reimagined our communities free from oppression.

Yet our communities are still faced with what sometimes feels like insurmountable odds. Year after year our community has proclaimed that racism runs rampant in the Gayborhood to what feels like deaf ears.

We exist in a landscape of hiv/aids prevention work in which front line black and brown queer workers are STILL disproportionately and grossly underpaid, not in positions of power, overlooked for promotions at major nonprofits and organizations, in and outside of the city.  Black and brown queer people face racism in the very establishments meant to serve queer people. We have seen instances where our immigrant LGBTQ community have been denied admittance into some of the city’s most prominent gay nightclubs due to club policies that refuse to accept valid forms of identification, such as non-American passports or Consular ID Cards. Access to comprehensive healthcare for undocumented LGBTQ people is yet another huge barrier, compounded by limited bi-lingual staff and the reality that none of the resources needed by our communities are offered directly in our neighborhoods, placing the burden of access squarely on their shoulders.

All the while, community and government entities that are supposed to protect and serve ALL it’s community members such as the city’ most prominent LGBTQ rights orgs and even the Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs respond to acts of anti-blackness, racism and discrimination against Queer people of color with silence, delay, and inaction.

When Queer Latinos dare to speak up against these injustices, we are verbally, and physically assaulted, criticized, and targeted by tactics that demonstrate that anti-blackness and anti-immigrant sentiment is not just the occupation of singular hateful individuals, but rather, embedded within the institutions that say they stand with us; but do not.

Juntos & GALAEI are organizations rooted in the self-determination and liberation of our people, striving to hold ourselves accountable to the intersectional needs and demands of our community. As such, we stand with our community and the efforts of The Black & Brown Workers Collective (BBWC) to dismantle any institution that serves to perpetuate racism in our lives, including city officials who stand in the way of our freedom.

Juntos is Hiring an Office Manager / Program Assistant

Job Posting

Office Manager / Program Assistant

The Office Manager / Program Assistant for Juntos will support the organization’s office, administrative operations and its programs. H
e or she will report directly to the Executive Director.

Key Responsibilities

  • Overseeing the smooth function of the office
  • Serve as primary contact administratively for the organization
  • Being in charge of phones, messages, and making sure calls have been returned.
  • Managing general communication accounts
  • Maintain office and staff scheduling and calendar
  • Keeping all program files in order, digital and paper.
  • Purchasing supplies as needed.
  • Overseeing the clean and orderly state of facilities and the working order of all equipment.
  • Providing staff with support for events, including outreach, set-up and logistics.

Bookkeeping 

  • Managing accounts payable and receivable.
  • Handling program billing and related record keeping.
  • Handling reimbursement for staff expenses.
  • Banking as needed.
  • Supporting the work of accountant

Support Development and Program Administration

  • Managing calendar of due dates of grant proposals or reports to foundations.
  • Support with program reports, grant reports
  • Drafting of grants and organizing of materials for funders
  • Maintaining of development database of foundations, donors, and sustainers.
  • Sending paper acknowledgements to individual donors in a timely manner.
  • Keeping records of all correspondence.
  • Reporting any problems with Juntos website or Facebook page.
  • Provide administrative support for the Executive Director and staff as needed.
  • In consultation with Executive Director, preparing agenda and reports for Board Meetings, filing minutes and taking notice of Board decisions requiring action.

Qualifications

  • At least three years experience in office management, bookkeeping and writing for development support.
  • Strong computer skills; proficient in MS Office Suite and experience with databases and spreadsheets.
  • Ability to create and maintain filing and office organizing systems
  • Excellent oral and writing skills in English.
  • Ability to speak Spanish fluently.
  • Time management and problem solving skills; able to work under deadlines and multi-task while maintaining attention to detail.
  • A good disposition to communicate respectfully and kindly with all people.
  • The will to maintain confidentiality concerning legal matters.

This position is an average of 40 hours a week and based out of our office in Philadelphia; includes benefits

Juntos is an Equal Opportunity Employer. It encourages applications from any qualified candidate regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, age, or disability.

Please send resumé and cover letter to:

 juntosjobsearch@gmail.com

before September 15, 2016

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