Create a Sanctuary Neighborhood

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Hey, white folks, climb back down your family tree for a few generations. Your ancestors were slaves and slaveholders, rulers and serfs. Waves of Germans, Irish, Jews, Italians, Japanese, Mexicans, Africans, Chinese, and even English were hated and feared when they arrived in America. Laws were made by Democrats and Republicans alike to keep them away and keep them down.

Despite the Constitution's protection of religion, anti-American "nativists" have repeatedly advocated special laws discriminating against religious groups. To limit where they could worship, what they could say. Now limiting which religions can travel here.

Is America the land of the brave and the home of the free? Only if we are.

So it occurred to me that my neighborhood could declare itself a "SANCTUARY NEIGHBORHOOD." I have since found that Sunset Park, Brooklyn and Capitol Hill, Seattle are declaring themselves Sanctuary Neighborhoods.

We could organize: HOUSING (church, private, retail, etc) WORK (day labor and apprenticeships, barter arrangements) FOOD (farm and greenhouse work, CSA shares) HEALTH CARE (roster of healers for home visits, donated care and discounts) CHILD CARE (roster of homes and day care centers) CLOTHING (drop-off places) EDUCATION (auditing at local schools and universities) IDENTIFICATION (create our own neighborhood cards)

Here's how to start: Convene a core group consisting of people on relevant social media lists, recognized community leaders, plus immigrant and latino/muslim allies. Draft a declaration of intent. Create a list of specific neighborhood resources available to immigrants. Publicize.


Glover is founder of more than a dozen grassroots organizations, author of six books on community economics, has taught at Temple University and Philadelphia University.