Civil Disobedience at City Hall: We shut it down!

At the 48 hour deadline for the “People’s Executive Order,” New Sanctuary Movement returned en masse to City Hall.  We sent a delegation into City Hall to confer with Mayor Nutter. Nutter’s administration repeated that he still planned to re-start local deportations.

Upon hearing that, eight New Sanctuary Movement members (citizens, immigrants, and clergy) choose to risk arrest rather than allow Nutter to deport our communities. New Sanctuary Movement members Estela Hernandez, Mario Lopez, Carmen Guerrero, Lauren Ballester, Pastor Amy Yoder McGloughlin (pastor at Germantown Mennonite Church), NSM organizer Nicole Kligerman, teacher Tyler Brelje, and Beth Patel from the Philadelphia Student Union stood strong against the police violence and shut down City Hall because every day families are dragged out of their homes, workplaces, cars, and streets and deported away from their families.

The 8 members open the doors of City Hall and sat down in the entrance and exit, blocking traffic. The police immediately attacked the non-violent action, dragging and pushing our members out the door. One member, Carmen Guererro, injures her arm and is hospitalized. Nicole Kligerman, one of NSM’s organizers, is grabbed by the neck. Watch the video here.

The 8 people stayed blocking the entrance until City Hall closed, successfully stopping Mayor Nutter from changing the policy that day as he had intended!

Previous slide
Next slide

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.