NSM leader’s car towed through Live Stop, Mayor Kenney helps get it back

On December 5, 2015, as NSM leaders were traveling to attend a townhall meeting with Mayor-Elect Jim Kenney, the Philadelphia police stopped NSM leaders Estela and her husband Mario and towed their car through the Live Stop program. The police left the family, including three young children, on the side of the road at night, violating the Philadelphia Police Department’s policy to transport people after their cars have been towed through Live Stop.

Despite this, NSM leader Estela continued on to the townhall meeting and recounted her experience with Live Stop just thirty minutes prior. Mayor-Elect Kenney was touched by her story and his staff helped her recover her car at the tow lot the next day.

“We made arrangements for her to get her car released and have someone who’s a licensed driver pick up the car,” Kenney said. “Her car is now insured and registered, and her car is legal and it is out of custody.”

He also told us that “the Live Stop program was never designed to throw people on the sidewalk. This is wrong and we will get to the bottom of this.”

Read this article from 12/6/15 in the Philadelphia Inquirer to learn more: “Philly cops leave undocumented woman, kids in street, take car”

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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.