Driver’s Licenses For All Updates: 2020-2021

NSM is one of the leading organizations working to pass legislation to allow everyone in PA to have a Driver’s License through the statewide coalition Driving PA Forward. Our goal is to organize and mobilize our base to pressure the PA Legislature to approve legislation that will allow access to a standard Driver’s License for everyone in the state, regardless of immigration status.

In 2020, despite the fact that we faced a global pandemic, we continued working and building. This lead to us:

So far in 2021, we have accomplished:

  • April 7th: The DL committee lead the action and with NSM membership collected 1600, we delivered them in person to legislators in Harrisburg.
  • NSM hired our Community Organizer Coumba Faye to add capacity to the campaign. 
  • May 25th: DPF organized a lobby and visited legislators- Since April 27th, HB-279 was introduced to the transportation committee. In the dynamic of urging Representatives to pass the bill, DPF organized a lobby day on May 25th. The coalition delivered over a thousand letters to legislators. NSM collected 881 letters for transportation committee members Tim Hennessy and Meghan Schroeder. Over 50 folks were at Harrisburg to meet with the State Representatives and ask for their support.
  • June 21st: We hosted a family and youth lobby day. We invited the youth to take action and express their experiences because we are convinced that no kid should worry about the risk of separation from their family anytime they take a ride with their parents. 
  •  August 11th 2021: We had a Public Hearing hosted by the Transportation committee. The DPF coalition brought around 10 speakers who testified in favor of HB-279. Among the testifiers were Deputy Secretary of PennDot and  the Deputy Secretary of the Department of Agriculture.

The DL committee meets virtually every other Thursday. We are working on growing this action committee until we win. Are you interested in learning more about this committee? Please contact our Community Organizer Coumba Faye by emailing her at coumba@sanctuaryphiladelphia.org

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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.