Sanctuary tour: Rosa in Tucson

Our last stop on the Sanctuary 2015 was to Rosa Robles Loreto, who has been in Sanctuary at Southside Presbyterian Church for almost seven months. Through weekly phone calls and doing the rosary together, Angela and Rosa had already created a friendship and it was wonderful to bring these two leaders together in person.

Southside Presbyterian was the birthplace of the original Sanctuary movement in the 1980’s and it’s commitment to social justice is profound. A day laborers center, headstart center, and a group that gives out water and medical aid to people the crossing the desert all meet out of the Southside property. They have a beautiful shrine to migrants who die in the desert trying to come to the U.S. and have gave Sanctuary to two people, Daniel and Rosa, in 2014.

Our first night in Tucson, there was a community forum with four Sanctuary leaders: Angela, Rosa, Francisco, and Daniel. These amazing leaders reflected on their experiences in Sanctuary, what was challenging, and what gave them hope in their very public fights to end their final deportation orders. The inspiring evening ended with a commitment to keep supporting Rosa in the fight to keep her in Tucson with her family.

The following day, Nicole, Manrique, and Angela went to the historic San Xavier de Bac mission with Cecilia, who is head of hospitality for Sanctuary at Southside Presbyterian. At the beautiful 400  year old mission church, we learned more about the history of Arizona and lit candles for the three remaining Sanctuary cases. In the evening, Angela gave a workshop for Southside members about our successful Sanctuary campaign.

We returned from the Sanctuary tour with strong new friendships, a deep appreciation for the beautiful hospitality shown upon us, and a strong commitment to continuing our organizing with Sanctuary until all of our friends win their cases.

Thank you, Rosa, Misael, Arturo, Tucson, Phoenix, and Denver!

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.