(Please see below for action items.)
This year, CRLN members and partners took action during Holy Week for the campaign to Expand Sanctuary in Chicago. Participating in OCCUPY PALM SUNDAY and the GOOD FRIDAY WALK FOR JUSTICE, we urged city officials and faith communities to take concrete rather than symbolic action to end threats to immigrant communities and over-policing and criminalization of communities of color.
On Palm Sunday (4/9), we joined the LSEA (Logan Square Ecumenical Alliance), LSNA (Logan Square Neighborhood Association), CRS (Community Renewal Society), Arise Chicago, NIJFON (Northern Illinois Justice for our Neighbors), and others in the Logan Square & Humboldt Park community. We hosted a march, public prayer, and rally to call on city officials to expand sanctuary via the Chicago Welcoming City Ordinance and to amend the Fraternal Order of Police contract to reduce Chicago Police violence and use of force. Community members directly impacted by the exceptions to the Welcoming City Ordinance and police violence in Chicago, local religious and community leaders, community organizations, and Ald. Carlos Ramirez Rosa gathered to reenact the Palm Sunday story with a modern, Chicago-based adaptation of the moment when Jesus overturns the tables of the money changers. As Jesus entered a temple and scattered the money changers, the street theater action demonstrated the need to overturn tables of exploitation and criminalization in Chicago. With over 150 people in attendance, we gathered to urge Mayor Rahm Emanuel and local aldermen to support safety and sanctuary for all communities, and vote yes in favor of the two policies, both have already been introduced to the Chicago City Council.
The proposed amendments to the Chicago Welcoming City Ordinance increase the number of protections to immigrant communities and broaden the number of people that are included under these protections. Significant changes include expedited processing for victims of crimes and workplace abuse to certify their U-visa and T-visa requests, clear policy prohibiting the City of Chicago from entering into 287(g) agreements (local police enforcing federal immigration law), and language accessibility.
The changes recommended in the resolution to the contract negotiation between the City of Chicago and the police union, the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), are consistent with the recommendations from the Department of Justice investigation into the Chicago Police Department, aimed at removing loopholes and increasing accountability for Chicago police.
Together we prayed:
“Reader 1: We imagine the day when all our faith communities in Chicago will answer this call to be sanctuaries for any who need care and safety. We want to hold ourselves to higher standards of realizing justice and then hold each other lovingly, while we continue to transform ourselves and our congregations.
All: God, help us in this struggle to live more justly and lovingly.
Reader 2: We imagine the day when we will not allow a person’s criminal record to block our offer of sanctuary. We will treat people as capable of redemption and healing.
All: Help us reject the thinking that there are “good” people deserving of sanctuary and “bad” ones who don’t. This thinking divides even our communities of color, weakening our collective resistance to racist and xenophobic visions.
Reader 3: We imagine the day when Chicago itself will truly be a sanctuary city. On that day, city police will not only NOT cooperate with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. They also will NO LONGER racially profile, put under surveillance, incarcerate, or shoot and kill undocumented people and people of color.
All: May that day come!
Reader 1: The safest community is an organized community. Organizing is hard work. Are you prepared to organize yourselves.”
For any questions about this year’s Holy Week events and/or how to get more involved in the campaign to Expand Sanctuary, please contact the CRLN Immigration Organizer at firstname.lastname@example.org.