Angela’s Address to the Community, One Year Later

The following is Angela’s address to the community on November 19, 2015, the one-year anniversary of her entrance into sanctuary.

One year ago I was here with you all, but it made me feel very different emotions. I give thanks to God for you, who are always there to support. If it hadn’t been for that day that I decided to enter into this place, my life would have been the same.

My life, however, took a different path. Honestly, it’s a completely different life. It’s a new life, and now I don’t have fear anymore. I can be free in my work. And this is the achievement of many people, but also of all you.

Before last year, I might have been someone to my family, but to the world I was really nobody—because I was hidden. I know there are many that continue that way. And it’s difficult to feel completely free when there are so many that are suffering. I would have never been able fight this fight, to have acheived this, if it were not for you.

But thanks to this fight that we all took up, my life is different. Now I have a license, we bought a house, I have my own job. I had the opportunity to sing in the Mass when the Pope came, and without this fight I wouldn’t have been able to.

With good changes, good laws, we have different opportunities, and we deserve this. We all deserve this because we are all human beings. I’m so thankful for you, who support us all.

I’m going to finish with a song that a friend wrote for the little boy that they found washed up on the beach, who was from Syria. And it’s not only this little boy that is on his knees, there are many kids, many people who are on their knees. So I’m going to sing this song, and I hope that with this song, we can pray what it says.

Que mas tiene que pasar
para que hagan algo ya?
El mundo yo sé caye en pedazos, y poco mas.Ya, no hay humanidad,
al dolores de los demás
el matando me hace daño, una vez mas.

Y la brisa de este niño,
no llegó a la tierra viva,
él son los sufraje que muere
por atrapado su rompita

Y esto no es llegar el primero,
solo miren sus manitas,
que sus fuerzas se perdieron,
entre el mar de la justicia.

Y este no es solo una foto,
hay astilla que habia,
en el mundo atras su metos,
un niño llegó sin vida

Pero qué estamos haciendo,
aquí sentados todavia?

Nos veremos que el silencio, no sopriende, nunca brilla.
Nos veremos que el silencio, no sopriende, nunca brilla.

What more must happen
so that they will do something?
The world, I know, is falling to pieces, and little more.There is no humanity anymore,
the pains of the “others”,
the killing pains me, once again.

And the breeze of this child,
did not arrive on land alive,
he is the suffering [people] who die,
for being trapped in brokenness.

And this is not the first,
just look at his hands,
he lost all his strength,
in the sea of justice.

And this is not just a photo,
there is a splintering,
in the world with all its goals,
a child arrives without life.

But what are we doing,
still seated here?

We see that silence doesn’t surprise, never shines.
We see that silence doesn’t surprise, never shines.

Watch the recording of this address here.

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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.