On January 15th, CRLN joined SOUL, A Just Harvest, Faith in Place, Fight for 15, Women Gathering for Justice, and the Workers Center for Racial Justice for a celebration and call to action to honor Martin Luther King Jr’s life and legacy of direct action to build social change.


A community of faith and conscience filled the space at the Willye B. White Fieldhouse in Rogers Park.


Rev. Marilyn Pagán-Banks, Rev. Booker Vance, and Rev. Teresa Smallwood opened up this event with a warm welcome, in prayer, and providing context.


OCAD (Organized Communities Against Deportations) and CRLN presented deportation defense as an important issue with a call to action for faith communities and elected officials. Rev. Alli Baker (Wellington Church, an immigrant welcoming congregation) framed the issue for the event, while OCAD and CRLN members gave public witness to the struggle of keeping the city and our communities accountable to being true “sanctuaries” in all its definitions. This includes the need for the elimination of an arbitrary gang database kept by the city that criminalizes communities of color, particularly Black communities, and allows for ICE and CPD collaboration in immigration cases.


As we continue to hold Mayor Emmanuel, Governor Rauner, ICE and all agencies accountable for criminalizing Black and Brown folks, raiding immigrant communities, and allowing our communities to be broken apart, we called (and continue to call) upon communities of faith to take action with us.


As Martin Luther King said, “Let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter, but beautiful struggle for a new world.”


First, we call on faith communities and congregations to provide space within their spaces of worship for healing, educating, and organizing. Like many places of worship did in the 1970s and 1980s, open up your space for our undocumented siblings, brothers, and sisters fighting their deportations or for other directly-affected communities fighting other kinds of cases.


Second, we call on everyone here today to live our faith and values by organizing sanctuary spaces within your own community. We call on everyone to create sanctuary communities by opening your doors and hitting the streets. Sanctuary is a commitment to enacting our own visions of community care and safety. We reject divisive language that says some people are more deserving of love and protection than others.


To stay up to date on more ways to support current campaigns please follow CRLN, OCAD, and all our community partners on Facebook.


For more information please contact Cinthya Rodriguez, Immigration Organizer for CRLN at


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