St. Louis Coalition for Sanctuary
The St. Louis Sanctuary Coalition is a multi-faith coalition of religious leaders, congregations, and individuals in and around St. Louis that are called by their shared values to respond actively and publicly to the suffering of our immigrant brothers and sisters residing in the US. The coalition seeks to end the suffering and injustice caused by immigration enforcement, including raids, detention, deportation and sometimes achieved through dangerous collaboration with local law enforcement. Together with those at risk of deportation, their families, and allies, the Coalition is prepared to provide sanctuary as a tool to achieve those goals. IFCLA proudly supports this organizing initiative.
What is sanctuary?
Sanctuary is a way to be in solidarity with the undocumented community by creating safe space for the prophetic voice of immigrant leaders to be lifted up as we confront unjust laws together. Through the Sanctuary Movement faith communities can powerfully enact and embody their commitment to justice. Those engaged in Sanctuary participate in a spectrum of solidarity actions including welcoming undocumented people, advocating to help stop deportations, assisting with legal clinics, and physically sheltering immigrants in danger of immediate deportation.
IFCLA and Sanctuary
On Thursday, September 21, the St. Louis Sanctuary Coalition, area organizations (including the St. Louis Inter-Faith Committee on Latin America, Latinos en Axion STL, and the MICA Project) along with faith leaders and advocates, will gather in solidarity with Rene “Alex” Garcia Maldonado (A#078176440) as he enters Sanctuary in an attempt to stay with his family in the US. Alex came to this country from Honduras thirteen years ago seeking safety and a better life. Since then, he has become a respected member of his community and a pillar of support for his family, which includes his US citizen wife and five US citizen children. His oldest son was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome in 2014 and depends on his strong relationship with his father to calm his stress and anxiety.
To view news articles, sign the petition, and learn more about Alex, click here.
To view addition links and resources on the Sanctuary movement, click here.
Declaration of Sacred Resistance
We are a coalition of interfaith religious leaders and participating congregations, called by our shared values to respond actively and publicly to the suffering of our immigrant brothers and sisters residing in the United States. We are deeply grieved by the violence done to families through immigration enforcement, including through raids, detention, deportation, and sometimes achieved through dangerous collaboration with local law enforcement. We cannot in good conscience ignore such suffering and injustice.
We stand together in our faith that everyone, regardless of national origin, has basic common rights, including but not limited to: 1) livelihood; 2) family unity; and 3) physical and emotional safety. We witness the violation of these rights under current immigration policy, particularly in the separation of children from their parents due to unjust deportations, and in the exploitation of immigrant workers.
As people of faith and good will, we pledge to:
- Resist policies that target and deport millions of undocumented immigrants and discriminate against marginalized communities.
- Work alongside our friends, families, and neighbors to ensure the dignity and human rights of all people are honored and respected.
- Educate and activate our congregations, organizations and affiliate groups, to listen, amplify and respond to the voices of immigrant leaders, and to speak out against the discrimination of any and all marginalized people.
- Accompany our community members, congregants and neighbors facing deportation, and those impacted by detention, deportation, and family separation.
- Collectively be prepared to provide sanctuary to an immigrant and their family, providing them with a means to continue to resist their deportation while hosted in a safe space for their body and spirit, the ability to remain with their family and community, and a public platform to proclaim their prophetic message regarding just and humane immigration policy. Many of our congregations will participate in a supportive ministry to those able to offer sanctuary directly, and we firmly resolve to DO SOMETHING.
The below-signed congregations, organizations, and leaders have chosen to stand with and support immigrants and their families facing deportation, revealing the actual human costs of current immigration policies. We believe this movement reveals the face of the immigration crisis. We share their grief at the separation of children from their parents due to unjust deportations. We join their call for the moral awakening of the nation and share their commitment to protect immigrants against hate, discrimination and deportation. We covenant to assume these responsibilities and actions as an apt vehicle for living out our shared values in the current historic moment.
In addition, because each of our traditions value love, justice, and dignity, we extend this invitation to all Greater St. Louis Area faith communities, to join in forming a broad multi-ethnic and interfaith coalition assuring sanctuary, solidarity and safety for our immigrant sisters and brothers.
You are encouraged to sign-on as an individual, and/or as a representative of a group, organization, or congregation. If you have any questions, or would like to become part of this movement, please contact Sara John.