“Sanctuary in the Streets” Raid Response!

In case of a raid, call NSM’s emergency hotline number: 267-333-9530

On May 25, New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia faith leaders gathered to launch “Sanctuary in the Streets” – direct action to stop Obama’s deportation raids targeting refugee families. 

To fight back against the Obama Administration’s new round of raids, congregations across the city are building teams of people ready to respond to a raid.  When we get a call that a raid is happening in Philadelphia, we will call the teams to the site of the raid to hold a prayer vigil, film the raid on phone cameras, and be a presence for the family. We have 31 people signed up so far, and the list keeps growing!

Victims of a deportation raid can’t leave their home to seek sanctuary in a congregation, so we are bringing the congregation to them. 

Today we came together as a community to ground ourselves in the power of our faith traditions, commit to Sanctuary in the Streets, to publicly call on ICE to stop the raids and tell them the faith community will be wherever ICE shows up.

The mandate to love thy neighbor and welcome the stranger is not just about feelings – it’s a call to action. If you belong to a New Sanctuary member congregation and want to be part of the Sanctuary in the Streets rapid response, please email peter@sanctuaryphiladelphia.org.

“Raids devalue us all as people.  Sanctuary in the Streets gives us the strength that we can fight against all types of injustice.  It makes us feel as equals because we are all children of God.”  
– Estela Hernandez, NSM Leader
“When we hurt one person, when we make one person feel unwelcome or insecure, we hurt God.”
– Rabbi Shawn Zevit, Mishkan Shalom Synagogue

Santuario en las calles


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Immigrant led Community Organizing

Our staff manages our campaigns and programs while our members join our working committees to inform our programming, choose our campaigns, and plan our strategies to win. Through conversation and listening, our members and the community on the ground are the ones directing the organization. When people reach out to NSM, they connect with someone who speaks their language, looks like them, and is committed to empowering immigrant communities because they understand their journey and struggle. At NSM, our communities see their peers guiding our mission, creating trust, and allowing members to recognize NSM as an immigrant-led organization.
NSM works to lift the skills of the affected community and dismantle systems of oppression while promoting systems of mutual support, collective liberation, and respect for all people, which is why we provide interpretation services, respect childcare needs, schedule our sessions during times that work best for members who work multiple jobs or cannot meet in person, and allow members to inform us about their individual needs before meetings.
The community leads our work at every level to eliminate unnecessary barriers and meet the varied needs of our members.

Leadership Development

Our Leadership Development Program is a step in recruiting and training new leaders and training. The program blends the skills and experiences members bring from their home countries with NSM’s signature faith-rooted and anti-racist organizing model.

We have curricula for each level of membership, which includes workshops on the history of detention, community organizing, nonviolent protest, campaign strategy, and ongoing anti-racism training. Our programming encourages immigrant leaders to find their voice, understand the power of collective resistance, and join a community of immigrant leaders fighting for transformational systemic changes rooted in social and economic justice.

Leading this initiative is Bertha Murcia, one of NSM's Community Organizers. She is an alumna of NSM’s Promotoras de Justicia immigrant leadership program and oversees member engagement.

Build Community Power

NSM’s organizing efforts emphasize community building, inviting people to new roles, deepening Black and Brown solidarity, long-term leadership development, and impactful campaigns.

We build a base of people from our 33 congregations and Accompaniment Team and direct that people-power to fight specific campaigns. Staff members work with immigrant members to choose our campaigns, guide our strategies, lead events, and ensure our work is focused on meeting the needs of Philadelphia’s various immigrant communities.

Having a hands-on role in changing policy allows our members to gain a sense of empowerment, confidence, and self-respect. Empowering immigrants of color to organize collectively is part of NSM’s long haul work to create a people-powered movement for immigrant justice.