Freedom At Last.

On March 17th 2021, Carmela Apolonio Hernandez walked out of the front doors of Germantown Mennonite Church to announce that after 3 years and 4 months of resisting her family’s deportation – she won.

Carmela’s victory is proof: community organizing works. This journey would not have been possible without the community that has formed throughout this campaign. From the open arms of Church of the Advocate and Germantown Mennonite Church community, to the tireless work of Free Migration Project, to the dedication of the campaign committee and the generosity of countless donors and supporters – thank you.

At Carmela’s Sanctuary farewell, Rev. Rene shared, “Carmela is asking us to take seeds to plant where we are, seeds are for hope and for expectation, seeds are a promise for the future, the world continues to need the seeds of freedom, the seeds of light, the seeds of love.

The story of Carmela’s Campaign:

On December 13th, 2017, Carmela, Fidel, Keyri, Yoselin and Edwin took the prophetic and bold step to enter into Sanctuary at Church of the Advocate, a member congregation of New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia. “I am taking Sanctuary to fight for my family, to protest our deportation orders and the injustices of the immigration systems. Everybody deserves to live with dignity and safety,” said Carmela.


Lessons from Carmela’s Quarantine Vigil Series:

When COVID-19 led us to stay indoors and adapt to the uncomfortable, isolating experience of living within walls, we turned to Carmela for wisdom. Like so many community members forced to live life behind bars and walls, Carmela’s Sanctuary experience has equipped her with valuable knowledge about how to cultivate hope and community from within our homes. Hence, the emergence of Carmela’s year-long Quarantine Vigil Series : Click here to view the archive of Carmela’s weekly virtual vigils.

Updates on Carmela’s Campaign: