I am Grace Cooper

Promotoras Grace, Gloria and Suyapa

My name is Grace Fay Cooper. I was born in Sacramento California and since 2014, I have lived in Philadelphia with my husband, Noé and our dog, Camila. We are happy to be establishing our life together here and to be included in Philadelphia’s unique and welcoming community. 

I began volunteering with New Sanctuary Movement in 2016. As a volunteer I have participated in several different campaigns and committees    including Sanctuary in the Streets, Live Stop, and the Families United Committee. In 2019 I became a Promotora to deepen my commitment to organizing with New Sanctuary Movement and learn more about how to serve through collective action with Philadelphia’s immigrant community. 

As a member of a mixed-status family I feel personally motivated to support campaigns and actions that will improve the happiness and safety of my family, friends, and community. For example, I know the campaign, Driver’s License for All in PA,  will have a direct impact on our lives when we achieve our goal to have driver’s license available for all regardless of immigration status. Also, I see that many of the obstacles my family and community face are shared with and shaped by people around us.Therefore, my personal stake in the fight for human rights, while grounded in very serious individual concerns, is ultimately founded upon and centered on the collective needs, desires, goals, supports, and strategies of the global community to which we all belong. 

The relationships and connections I have with friends, family, neighbors, and community members gives me the courage, knowledge, and support to continue organizing. New Sanctuary Movement teaches me to continue to cultivate, grow, and rely upon those relationships. While organizing as a Promotora I have had the opportunity to visit with immigrant families in their homes and listen as they talk about their experiences coming to the U.S. and going through their immigration process. These families have taught me that the organizers greatest tool is our capacity to listen and bear witness to the experiences of others. To meet our community members where they are is the first step to acknowledging their contribution to the fight for human rights and activating their collaboration with New Sanctuary Movement.

I am forever indebted to my friends and family at New Sanctuary Movement who acknowledged and activated my fight for human rights. It is my honor to continue this fight as a Promotora and serve with Philadelphia’s immigrant community. 

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Español

Mi nombre es Grace Fay Cooper. Yo nací en Sacramento California y desde 2014 he vivido en Philadelphia con mi esposo, Noé y nuestra perra, Camila. Estamos muy felices estar estableciendo nuestra vida juntos aquí y estar incluidos en la comunidad única y  cordial de Filadelfia. 

Yo empecé a ser voluntaria con el Movimiento Nuevo Santuario en 2016. Como una voluntaria yo he participado en varias campañas y comités incluyendo Santuario en las Calles, Live Stop, y el Comité de Familias Unidas. En 2019 yo me convertí en un Promotora para profundizar mi compromiso a organizar con el Movimiento Nuevo Santuario y aprender más sobre como puedo servir por acción colectiva con la comunidad inmigrante de Filadelfia. 

Como miembra de una familia con estatus-mezclado me siento motivado personalmente para apoyar campañas y acciones que mejorarán la alegría y seguridad de mi familia, amigos, y comunidad. Por ejemplo, yo sé que la campaña, Licensia de Manejar para Todo en PA, tendrá un impacto directo en nuestra vida cuando logramos nuestra meta de tener licencias de manejar para todos sin tener en cuenta si estatus migratorio. También yo veo que muchos de los obstáculos que mi familia y mi comunidad enfrentan son compartidos y moldeados por personas que nos rodean.  

Las relaciones y conexiones que tengo con amigos, familiares, vecinos, y miembros de la comunidad me dan el valor, el conocimiento y el apoyo para seguir organizando. El Movimiento Nuevo Santuario me enseña a seguir cultivando, creciendo y confiando en esas relaciones. Mientras organizando como una Promotora yo he tenido la oportunidad para visitar con familias inmigrantes en sus hogares y escuchar mientras hablan de sus experiencias llegando a los Estados Unidos y pasando por sus procesos de inmigración. Estas familias me han enseñado que la mayor herramienta de los organizadores es nuestra capacidad de escuchar y dar testimonio de las experiencias de los demás.  Conocer a los miembros de nuestra comunidad donde están es el primer paso para reconocer su contribución a la luch por los derechos humanos y activar su colaboración con el Movimiento Nuevo Santuario.

Estoy siempre en deuda con mis amigos y familia en el Movimiento Nuevo Santuario que reconocieron y activaron mi luch por los derechos humanos. Es un honor para mí continuar esta luch como una Promotora y servir con la comunidad inmigrante de Filadelfia.

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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.