Olympia Brown UU Church was give a recognition award by Voces De La Frontera’s Sanctuary Movement. Voces de la Frontera is a nationally recognized state-wide immigrant rights group that works to protect the civil rights of immigrants and low-wage workers, advocate for legislative change to benefit immigrant families, and grow youth leadership. One area of service is their New Sanctuary Movement (NSM). This branch organizes Interfaith vigils to support families, a weekly silent prayer witnessing for immigrants going to Milwaukee’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) check-in meetings, and provides training for court accompaniment by allies to show support for immigrant people.
OBUUC voted to become a sanctuary support congregation in 2017. Since then we have provided advocacy and material support to Voces de la Frontera. We have provided meeting space to their Youth Empowered in the Struggle (YES) within our church for training, offered hospitality, sleeping space, and chaperone services during their 2018 YES Hunger Strike, and celebration space to share potluck dinners and interfaith services after downtown rallies. Many of our church members provided funding for YES students to take a bus to Washington D.C. to lobby for continuing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Our Social Justice Committee members were trained in court accompaniment by Voces de la Frontera’s New Sanctuary Movement staff.
We have attended in-person or via virtual courtroom links to Kenosha, Walworth, and Milwaukee County and Federal Immigration Courts to provide witness for documented and undocumented brothers and sisters facing the criminal justice system.. OBUUC members have contributed food, purchased “bus tickets” to sponsor Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals(DACA) youth to rally in Washington D.C. We have done Voter Registration with UU-the-Vote, Wisconsin’s Building Unity Campaign, Voces de la Frontera and the Racine Interfaith Coalition. Our Social Justice Committee purchased a “sneeze guard” protective shield for this work during the COVID-19 Pandemic and shared the protective equipment with Voces de la Frontera organizers working out of the Racine labor Center for voter registration work. In October, we had a successful “baby shower” collection and drop-off for an immigrant family having a new baby son. Recently many of you generously contributed to the New Sanctuary Movement program through our Offertory Outreach Collection and donated funds to Voces de la Frontera’s DACA Scholarship Program to assist students with application fees and to the Racine Interfaith Coalitions Detained Migrant Program. Most recently, with the new administration in Washington D.C., we joined Voces de la Frontera’s Youth Empowered in the Struggle (Y.E.S.) at a rally outside the Racine County Courthouse to support their demands for a pathway to citizenship, criminal justice system reform, and comprehensive COVID relief for all families.