Sharing Our Resources and Showing Up in Solidarity With WAISN
The Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network (WAISN) evolved in the face of growing threats and rising needs early in the Trump administration. With nearly one million immigrants in Washington state, and dozens of organizations focused on support, advocacy and immigrant rights, many banded together during late 2016, to create a coalition to strengthen, protect and serve immigrant communities across Washington. Allies from community organizing, labor and the faith community joined in. UUC’s Immigrant Justice Team got involved early on, too.
WAISN is a powerful, immigrant-led network. By joining with them, we were able to follow the voice of impacted communities and use our privilege to add to that power. Many of you may recall Monserrat Padilla, from WAISN, joining Rev. Beth in our pulpit in January 2019. Bringing her to UUC evolved from our work with her—not as an invited speaker, but as a sister leading, listening and learning in community. If you missed that service, you can still tune in here. It was energizing and motivational!
When UUC’s Social Justice Steering Committee identified some unused funds at this year’s end, and asked the Immigrant Justice Team to identify one of its community partners, we readily agreed that WAISN had led countless efforts in the past four years that offered light and dignity, and created glimpses of beloved community, during the darkness. And so, we are pleased that UUC is sharing some of its resources with WAISN—$2,500 from this year’s Social Justice funds.
Joining WAISN created new opportunities to get proximate, be in solidarity with impacted communities and live out our UU principles. Here are a few ways which UUC engaged with WAISN over the last 4 years:
- Several from our Immigrant Justice Team joined a meeting to explore how we might get involved in the Rapid Response Teams forming around Washington State. Allies formed teams of 5–7 to bear witness during a suspected ICE event and help immigrants understand their rights. Several from UUC’s Immigrant Justice Team were trained and then hosted training sessions for UUC and for two other congregations in the University District.
- Several from UUC have showed up as Rapid Responders, utilizing their knowledge about immigrants’ rights at events where ICE may be present and in accompanying immigrants to ICE check-in appointments.
- Several from UUC got involved with a WAISN effort to offer hospitality and housing to Transgender and other LGBTQ people being released from detention. UUC’s engagement ranged from early planning, to identifying host families, to hosting gatherings.
- UUC has been active with Immigrant & Refugee Lobby Days, both in Olympia and virtually, for the last three years. Many were active in passing important legislation in recent years—Keep Washington Working, a landmark immigrant rights bill in 2019, and House Bill 1090 this year, to close private prisons in our state.
- Several have offered accompaniment to immigrants at ICE check-ins, after being released from detention and to immigration court.
If you want to learn more about how to get involved with our Immigrant Justice Team, join the next meeting at UUC on Wednesday, August 4. You may also contact Pam.