Second Sunday Offering on August 9: Congregation Action Network
The Congregation Action Network (CAN) is a network of faith communities in Washington, DC, and the Maryland and Virginia suburbs acting in solidarity to end detention, deportation, profiling, and criminalization of immigrants and demanding and upholding justice, dignity, safety, and family unity.
In early 2017, when the Trump Administration announced the Muslim ban and began broadening deportations beyond the already inhumane practices of the Obama administration, two organizations brought a vision for faith-based immigration advocacy to life. Faith in Action‘s LA RED campaign and Sanctuary DMV founded the DMV Sanctuary Congregation Network to put the power of faith to work for immigration justice. Renamed the Congregation Action Network (CAN) in 2019, this collective of more than 70 Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Humanist, Hindu, Buddhist, and other congregations has brought its faithful resistance to bear in the DC/MD/VA region to provide support and solidarity to neighbors, friends, and family who fear being detained, deported, or profiled. The Congregation Action Network is a program of LA RED, Faith in Action’s immigrant justice initiative. Faith in Action is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.
Membership in and support of CAN are expressions of First Church’s decision in May 2017 to be a Sanctuary Congregation and become involved in the New Sanctuary Movement. One CAN congregation – Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church in Bethesda, MD – has hosted Rosa Gutierrez Lopez in physical sanctuary since December 2018. Other congregations are ready to become physical sanctuaries if the need arises. Still others (like First Church) support Cedar Lane and Rosa. Here are other activities CAN members engage in to resist detentions and deportations and keep families united and free in our communities:
- Advocate to support, for example, DACA recipients.
- Accompany people to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) check-ins, court hearings and ankle monitor check-ins.
- Serve on rapid response networks that respond to, report on, and offer assistance to those targeted by ICE raids.
- Hold “Know Your Rights” trainings or community canvasses.
- Press local jurisdictions to get ICE out of schools, jails, and courts, and to end all policies that racially profile and over-incarcerate people of color.
- Press local jurisdictions and officials to resist ICE’s and DHS’s attempts to open new immigrant detention facilities in our communities.
- During the pandemic, providing much-needed meals and life supports. The CAN COVID-19 Emergency Fundsupports immigrant families identified by faith communities across the DMV who don’t qualify for local, state, or federal support. Funds will be used to replace income and pay for immediate health expenses, rent, groceries, utilities, tuition, and work authorizations.
Please give generously to support the work of CAN on behalf of immigrants.
Go to www.congregationactionnetwork.org to learn more.
Lucille Dickinson for the Social Action and Awareness Commission