QUAKERS AND THE IMMIGRANT RIGHTS MOVEMENT
The Society of Friends’ belief in the inherent worth of every individual leads us to work for the promotion and protection of human rights for all.
The Society of Friends (used interchangeably with Quakers) has long worked on the issue of displaced people, helping to advance the international legal standards and structures designed to protect their rights and dignity and offering aid and refuge in times of emergency. When large numbers of people are forced to cross borders, this is a symptom of a failure to prevent conflict and uphold rights, which runs counter to our vision of a world where peace and justice prevail.
The St. Petersburg Monthly Meeting supports the work of the Border Patrol Victims Network in Tampa and the AMERICAN FRIENDS SERVICE COMMITTEE (AFSC) immigrant rights program in Miami /Dade through individuals who participate in their demonstrations and contribute financially to their projects. The Meeting as a whole distributes information about immigrant rights issues at Quaker peace education booths at local demonstrations and festivals.
The American Friends Service Committee’s immigrant rights program has been instrumental in opposing the deportation, separation and incarceration of immigrant families seeking asylum. It also has programs on Sanctuary and Mexico border anti-militarization.
In 2019, the AFSC Miami /Dade program through its leadership in FLIC, the Florida Immigrant Coalition, has concentrated attention on cruelty to the children imprisoned at the Private For Profit Homestead Child Detention Center. The Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC) a statewide coalition of more than 65 member organizations and over 100 allies, incudes grassroots and community organizations, farmworkers, youth, advocates, lawyers, union members and more.
Recently FLIC actions have been so well effective that they are credited with prompting the release of the Homestead children to placement with family members.
To impact US policy at the National Level we work through FCNL, the Friends Committee on National Legislation. FCNL.org (800) 630-1330
American Friends Service Committee AFSC.org/key-issues
American Friends Immigrant Services (AFIS) North Miami, FL (305) 600-5441. *
American Friends Service Committee Sanctuary Program: legal and material aid. AFSC.org/sanctuary
To impact US policy at the regional, state and local level we do our work through education and direct action programs supported by the American Friends Service Committee, and the Peace and Social Concerns Committees of regional Yearly Meetings and local monthly Meetings. The Quaker Meetings of Florida belong to an umbrella group, The Southeast Yearly Meeting (SEYM). The SEYM newsletter announces programs and actions sponsored by the Peace and Social Concerns Committees of SEYM and individual Meetings in Florida seymquakers.org
At the structural level we work through the Our Human Rights and Refugee programs of QUNO the Quaker United Nations Office. Refugeesmigrants.un.org (212) 682-2745
WHAT ARE QUAKERS IN ST. PETERSBURG DOING ABOUT IMMIGRATION INJUSTICE?
The St. Petersburg Quaker Meeting is focusing on immigrants/refugee issues by education ourselves and others about supporting immigrant movements. We try to show the links between our many concerns:
We attend rallies, visit congressional offices and sponsor postcard writing/calling campaigns
We staff education booths at social action oriented gatherings where we sell bumper stickers and buttons with timely slogans and give away literature that draws the connections between:
Deliberate fomenting of fear and hatred and the denial of citizenship/ scapegoating of immigrants
Gun violence and violence against marginalized people
Gender rights and human rights for all
Economic justice and political disenfranchisement
Environmental issues related to climate change, sustainability, and corporate control
We sponsor interactive art projects to creatively stimulate commitment to grass roots organizing.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED
LOCAL GROUPS working on Immigrant rights including zero tolerance and immigrant incarceration programs, ICE abuses and the lawless corruption and legal impunity of the US Border Patrol.
St. Petersburg Quaker Meeting StPetersburgQuakers.org : legislative delegations
Border Patrol Victims Network email@example.com (727)303-5053 FACEBOOK actions
Women’s March Florida Chapter firstname.lastname@example.org FACEBOOK actions and alerts
Fired Up Pinellas info@FiredUpPinellas.org FACEBOOK action alerts
Dream Defenders Allendale United Methodist Church allendaleumc.org (727) 527-6694
League of Women Voters St. Petersburg, Immigration Action Group wspa.org (727) 896-5197
WHERE TO DONATE Find them on the web and on FACEBOOK
Groups that need donations and some suggestions on how you can help migrant children and their families who are being separated at the border and detained: (Under Construction)
Be an ally — here are some organizations doing the groundwork to fight for immigrant rights:
Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI): an organization that helps Black immigrant communities advocate for racial and social justice.
The National Immigration Law Center (NILC): an advocacy group for immigrants and their family members.
The National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC): a grassroots organization that works to organize Korean and Asian Americans to achieve social, economic, and racial justice.
United We Dream: the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation.
Informed Immigrant: site with resources for individuals, educators, and providers to support undocumented families.