Thursday, March 10, 2011

Our stories connect us

The New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia (NSM) is sponsoring an evening of storytelling and reflection"Our stories connect us: the Underground Railroad and the Sanctuary Movement" March 22, from 7 to 9 p.m., at Arch Street United Methodist Church in Philadelphia. NSM is a strong advocate for immigration justice and works to protect the human and civil rights of all people. A while back I interviewed Peter Pedemonti, who has since become one of the organization's leaders. Read that interview here.

Perhaps -- given the increasingly hate-filled and polarized views about immigration and the undocumented in the nation -- we will have to adopt the custom attributed to abolitionists and anti-slavery folk along the Railroad routes -- hanging a quilt on a porch railing to indicate a safe sanctuary for those fleeing oppressive laws. Or, as it was in the Great Depression, a pictogram alphabet will develop, helping wayfarers in need identify the "good-hearted" people willing to share a meal or shelter.
In the meantime, let's make ourselves "signs." Help fight the drastic cuts to funding for refugees outlined in the House-passed Fiscal Year 2011 budget. Call your senator at 202-224-3121 and ask that the Senate restore all or some of the $827 million cut from refugee admissions and overseas refugee assistance and all or some of the $77 million for refugee resettlement, trafficking victim assistance, torture victim assistance, and the care of unaccompanied alien children. (For more information, visit the Justice for Immigrants web site here.)

The picture at the top of this post is a piece from the quilt I am making my daughter -- as it happens, an immigrant quilt. You can read about its making here.

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