This Sunday, June 24, Brittany Caine-Conley and Rebecca McGregor will be showing pictures and recounting their very memorable and meaningful mission trip to our southern border, their interactions there with immigrants and those who provide care at the increasingly chaotic border. We will also hear of the cases of 6 trans women who our community is hoping to shelter as their asylum cases make their way through the courts. Next week, July 1, we’ll highlight local efforts to assist our immigrant neighbors close by, with representatives from CIRAC, International Neighbors, and others in our community. On July 8, we’ll be discussing a look ahead to what support people can express to uplift our community in the days surrounding the anniversary of the weekend of August 11-12. And we’ll conclude our discussion series on July 15 with a panel of representatives from gun violence prevention groups. We hope you’ll join us in the Library.
Families Belong Together Rally, June 30, 11 a.m., Old Albemarle County Office Building (corner of Preston and Mcintyre), organized by Indivisible Charlottesville and cosponsored by many local organizations, including CIRAC (The Charlottesville-area Immigrant Resource and Advocacy Coalition). Facebook event page.
The Jefferson School African American Heritage Center, in collaboration with the City of Charlottesville and other community partners, announces the Charlottesville Community Civil Rights Pilgrimage: On July 8th at 8 am, Charlottesville residents will “get on the bus” to begin the Community Civil Rights Pilgrimage. Their ultimate goal is to bring soil collected from the site where John Henry James was lynched in Albemarle County in 1898 to the newly opened Equal Justice Initiative’s Monument to Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama. The soil will be delivered on the 120th anniversary of Mr. James’ murder. Along the way the bus will make stops at some of the most important civil rights sites in the country. The pilgrimage will include students, teachers, and other community members, as well as historians who will provide information as we move from one site to another. We will also be accompanied by Clergy and therapists to help us process difficult moments. Event page. Low income and full-fare participants can register to join the trip at http://jeffschoolheritagecenter.org/events/2014-fall-events/special-events/memorial-to-lynching/
A Community Discussion about Lynching: July 7, 11am, Jefferson School African American Heritage Center. Join us as we prepare to embark on the Charlottesville Community Civil Rights Pilgrimage. Program includes viewing of video of the soil collecting ceremony and showing of An Outrage: A Documentary Film About Lynching in the American South. Hannah Ayers and Lance Warren will discuss their film. Event page.
If you are interested in learning more about how you can provide support to asylum seekers, please read Support for Asylum Seekers being Sponsored in Charlottesville for more information.
Mission & Outreach
As Westminster’s representative, of the Central Virginia Sanctuary Network, an organization to help facilitate immigrant issues in our community, I wanted to make you aware of an opportunity to donate beds of various sizes for potential individuals that would seek shelter in a sanctuary church in Richmond.
There will also be a sanctuary church in Charlottesville in the near future, which will be a high priority for us, and I will keep you informed of needs there, as they arise.
If you have a bed that you would be willing to donate, please contact Dick Redding.
“Sanctuary for All” and “Keeping Families Together”
These are the themes for church and community efforts on behalf of our immigrant neighbors for 2018. “Sanctuary for all” means advocacy to ensure that all persons who are currently under threat in today’s climate of hostility (as we witnessed in Charlottesville this summer) toward persons of color, different ethnicity or citizenship status, or sexual orientation. The “Welcoming All” program of the Central Virginia Sanctuary Network, of which WPC is a member, will be focusing more broadly on how people of faith can create and sustain safe spaces for all. Dick Redding is WPC’s representative to the Steering Committee of the Central Virginia Sanctuary Network.
“Keeping Families Together” is the theme of several efforts by the Charlottesville Immigration Resource and Advocacy Coalition (CIRAC), in which WPC members are involved:
- The creation and administration of a bond and legal defense fund for undocumented persons without financial resources; bond will enable family breadwinners to remain with their families, rather than being sent to detention centers across the country where they are cut off from legal counsel and family support, while their case is being adjudicated.
- Advocacy at public hearings of the Albemarle County Regional Jail Board to adopt a policy refraining from automatically notifying Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) of persons who have been jailed, and served their sentence, for a civil matter (such as child support) or misdemeanor (such as driving without a license); again, this enables families to stay together.
Legal assistance: Persons with a legal background (attorneys and paralegals) are needed to assist local organizations with bond fund administration, assisting at “Know Your Rights” legal clinics, being trained as a legal observer for the Rapid Response Hotline (in the case of ICE raids), and pro bono legal assistance under the supervision of experienced immigration law attorneys. WPC members who are interested in this kind of involvement may contact , , or .
Transportation: Because undocumented persons cannot obtain a driver’s license in Virginia (multiple arrests for driving without a license becomes a direct pipeline to detention under the current administration’s policy), volunteers are needed to drive them to immigration court in Arlington, VA or to the US Citizenship Information Service office in Alexandria. This can be a very rewarding way to provide assistance to vulnerable, but appreciative neighbors. Contact Gail Wiley if you’d like to fill out a volunteer application to drive.
Detention Visitation: Volunteers are needed to work with the Capital Area Immigration Rights Coalition (CAIR) at Farmville Detention Center. Volunteers assist the legal team with documenting detainee’s story and situation for review to assess whether there may be legal remedies. Several WPC members participate in this; when sufficient numbers of interested persons are identified, CAIR will come to Charlottesville to offer another required two-hour volunteer training. Contact Gene Locke if you are interested.
Sanctuary congregations: Several congregations in Charlottesville have committed to providing physical sanctuary for undocumented persons. WPC has committed to supporting these congregations with funding and hospitality (groceries, laundry, rides, furnishings, etc.) necessary to comfortably house persons or families over periods of months. If you are interested in contributing to this hospitality effort, contact or .