Action Alert! End Discriminatory Towing Campaign Update

We had our first campaign victory when we met privately with Philadelphia Police Commissioner Ross in late July to present our ask!! It was possible only because of the incredible, hard work of all NSM members. Congratulations! 

The election of Donald Trump ruthlessly targeting immigrants (and of course other vulnerable communities) temporarily shifted our energy to organizing to defending our immigrant communities from immediate attacks. With the Sanctuary in the Streets Campaign underway strengthening defense, we have reshuffled energy to return to an offensive fight for our rights in solidarity with a broader collective struggle.

After a strategy retreat in March, we established a Coordinating Committee of ten immigrant members who meet regularly to evaluate and make decisions on the campaign to End Discriminatory Towing. Since early Spring, we have organized with the short-term goal of changing the Philadelphia Police Department’s practice of automatic towing that penalizes poor people and exploits racial discrimination and anti-immigrant laws.

Our ask: grant a 30 minute window of time for the driver to call someone with a license to come and take the car home rather than having the car automatically towed.

More importantly, with this campaign we aim to: 

1. Build a base that centers affected communities. We have done this through canvassing for over 2,300 petition signatures and dozens of testimonies.

2. Develop the leadership of the coordinating committee and all NSM members. We have done this through retreats, trainings, education and one on one support.

3. Engage and educate policy-makers. We have done this through 11 legislative visits out of which 8 produced concrete support from Council members.

4. Build solidarity. We have done this by bringing on POWER as an official partner, hosting the upcoming Convivio, broadening our message to address the root causes of the issues we are fighting, and canvassing across communities.

In order to begin a more widespread conversation on this issue with Philadelphia at large, it is time for a public action. Join us in delivering our ask supported by 2,500 signatures Mayor Kenney on September 7th, 2017.

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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.