A Radical Expansion of Sanctuary: Steps in Defiance of Trump’s Executive Order

by Marisa Franco, Truthout | Op-Ed –

A moment of stinging clarity is now upon us. President Donald Trump signed an executive order to set in motion the process of building a wall along the US-Mexico border, stripping federal funding from sanctuary cities, increasing the size of US Border Patrol forces and increasing deportations. In response, we must plunge even more urgently into the hard local work of building sanctuary.

A year ago, my team at #Not1More Deportation and I drafted this reflection on the nature of sanctuary:

We are from a lineage of our community who made a way when there was no way, who provided political and spiritual cover so the rest of us could come ahead …. When we seek to enter movement, and we converge, these spaces, they are sacred, because they are a form of sanctuary. Sanctuary is a spiritual stance. Sanctuary says: oppression is trying to fill our lives with fear and blood and daily numbing horror. But not in here. Not in my home. Not in my bed. Not in my movement. Sanctuary makes a ring of fire around our people. Sanctuary grants us a taste of reprieve and protection so they can gather strength to go out there again and fight. Sanctuary is our duty. A movement space must hold sanctuary.

These words have new meaning to me today. And in a political moment when pillars of justice appear to be falling all around us, sanctuary also has new meaning for millions of other people throughout the US. Those of us who cannot vote, those of us who have been marginalized — we were not asked if we wanted to live in such times as this, in a place such as this in which we now find ourselves. But we must decide what to do with the moment now upon us.

As we move into Trump’s first 100 days, the attacks on our advances, on our bodies and on our values come from all angles. This moment can be disorienting and overwhelming. I know it is hard to get up and fight. I know many of us are not sure what comes next, or how. But, deep down, we know what is happening.

We can find clarity because there are not many messages in the actions of Trump: there is only one, core to his character, from which all other messages flow. That message is that in order to “make America great again,” some of us will have to die, some of us will have to be pushed out, and some of us will have to be silent, malleable and complacent.

I demand of myself, as I implore of all of us, to see how this moment requires something different from us. Though we are creatures of habit, we must question our conditioned tendencies of alliance, of political line and of tactics.

If Trump seeks to strip us of sanctuary, then we must defy him. And our defiance must not simply recreate what existed, but instead expand, reimagine and breathe life into its possibilities.

Creating sanctuary in our local communities will require focusing on places and people many of us tend not to notice. There is no silver-bullet plan. There is no national government or national movement leader who will come save us. To jumpstart ourselves, we have to start where we are, where we live, and we have to get out of our bubbles.

We are fighting for the widest idea of sanctuary, and that vision, that aspirational demand, is under profound attack. Through collective action, however, we can create our own walls — walls of protection — that Trump cannot conquer.

Sanctuary in our times will require very deep and hard local work. Here are some first steps I see:

1. Sanctuary is now about shared political fate.

Where once we may have seen “them” as coming for “others,” now we see that the destiny of our planet, our towns and our lives is caught up in each other’s fates.

2. Sanctuary is not single-issue.

We have multiple targets on our backs. There is no time for our ideas of sanctuaries to be exclusive. Sanctuaries must include not only undocumented people, but also non-immigrant Muslims, LGBTQ people, Black and Indigenous folks and political dissidents. Trump cares nothing for our survival, and he is willing to persecute us. He has put people in power who are obsessed with our torture, subjugation and oppression. What else do we need to know? Not one of our movements or organizations is strong enough alone: Without shared force we will be decimated. Our sanctuary organizing must include this expanded understanding.

read more…..   http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/39224-a-radical-expansion-of-sanctuary-steps-in-defiance-of-trump-s-executive-order


Reprinted with permission from Truthout