Immigration Justice During a Pandemic
Members and Friends of UUCD,
The public health crisis that exploded months ago and became local in early March when the first Yolo County resident was diagnosed with COVID-19, has altered our lives and up-ended the church life we knew. Since the shelter-in-place order went into effect March 18, our ministers and staff have met the challenges with creativity. The Immigration Justice Team, like the quilting group and others in the UUCD community, examined how to do our work and whether the pandemic called on us – a sanctuary congregation — to do even more.
Now, several weeks into the pandemic and with no clarity about when it will end, we want to report on our plans. As a sanctuary congregation and a community of allies, we anticipated there were ways UUCD could support undocumented UCD students and the AB 540 Center. Members of the IJT met with student leaders and Center staff on Zoom to learn what UUCD might do. Together, we designed a grocery store gift card program. The congregation enthusiastically endorsed the project, contributing $2,800 and writing 56 notes of appreciation to students who will get the cards. The following people helped make the project a success: Barbara Bower, Steve Burns, Emily Burstein, Karen Carberry-Goh, Robin Datel and Dennis Dingemans, Leanne Friedman, Karen Friis, Carol Greene, Sharon Hale and Dawn Student, Stefan Harvey, Barbara Clutter and Betty Hesters, Beth House, Nancy Maynard, Karen Naliboff, Rev. Beth Banks, Beth Rezaee, Kathy Robertson, Don and Julie Saylor, Debbie Shoup, Joan Stek, Walt and Peg Swain, Joyce Takahashi, and Ann-Catrin Van.
As businesses closed or reduced hours, schools remained shuttered and the stay-at-home directive continued, we anticipated immigrant families might be among the hardest hit families. Working with the board, we recommended NorCal Resist, a local grassroots organization, be considered for the April special collection. You generously gave and UUCD sent NorCal Resist $750.
We are pleased to report our longstanding financial support of the Davis Families Together Project has contributed to robust funding of the project for the next several months. The pandemic has caused severe financial situations for other local immigrant families, and we invite you to join us in supporting ApoYolo, a new collaborative initiative by the Yolo Interfaith Immigration Network and community leaders.
The IJT is offering bumper stickers (display in your window or elsewhere if you don’t want to decorate your car). Order for $5-10 each by making out a check to YIIN and mailing to Steve Burns at 2792 Briscoe Ct., Woodland CA 95776. Include your address. The bum
per sticker(s) will be mailed to you and the checks turned over to YIIN, who receiving donations for ApoYolo.
Sanctuary Work During a Pandemic, May 26, 2020
As a sanctuary congregation, UUCD pledges to support the AB 540 and Undocumented Center at UCD, support the work of interfaith groups addressing immigrant issues, and raise funds for the undocumented community. Today these commitments can be done virtually or through limited physical interaction carried out in accordance with social distancing standards.
Our recent work in support of undocumented UCD students — many of whom have lost jobs or had hours reduced due to the pandemic — aligns perfectly with our Sanctuary Declaration. The $2,800 donated by 27 people bought 58 $50 grocery gift cards at stores selected by the students. Six people decorated 56 note cards and wrote messages of affirmation to the gift-card recipients.
The Immigration Justice Team thanks those who donated to the special collection in April. NorCal Resist is a local grassroots organization that trains activists, organizes actions and provides support for those in need, was selected by the board to receive half of the April collection. NorCal Resist hopes to raise $100,000 for undocumented families in Yolo, Placer and Sacramento counties hard hit by COVID-19. UUCD’s donation of $750 kicked off our financial support of local undocumented families.
ApoYolo, a new collaborative initiative between the Yolo Interfaith Immigration Network (YIIN) and community leaders, needs our support. ApoYolo provides individualized support to immigrant families through trained bi-lingual volunteers who provide information about local resources for food, health care and other essential needs. ApoYolo also provides financial assistance if and when resources are not available or sufficient. Rent has been identified as a great need. The project has enrolled nearly 30 families and plans to expand soon to Winters soon and then outlying areas of the county. The fundraising goal through 2020 is $73,000. YIIN, a non-profit 501(c) 3 organization is accepting donations to ApoYolo here. Checks can be mailed to YINN at P.O. Box 74295, Davis, CA 95617; please put ApoYolo in the memo line. UUCD recognizes YIIN as a leader among organizations working with the immigrant community; many within UUCD have worked with YIIN and supported their efforts in the past. This spring YINN had to cancel its annual benefit dinner, so a decision to donate the amount of your ticket to ApoYolo would be welcomed.
Several months ago, the Immigration Justice Team announced that UUCD’s sanctuary work this year would honor Will and Jane Lotter, two long-standing members who died in 2019 and 2016. ApoYolo reflects the creativity and commitment of the Lotters who were helped organize the 1980s sanctuary work in Davis. The IJT is donating to ApoYolo in memory of the Lotters. We hope others will join us.
We had planned a benefit concert by Mumbo Gumbo for late June to raise funds for Rutilio Grande, a small rural community in El Salvador. One of Davis’s sister cities, Rutilio Grande was visited by Will Lotter and others in Davis beginning in the 1980’s. Concert proceeds were going to be for scholarships for Rutilio Grande youth. Since the concert has been indefinitely postponed due to COVID-19, the Immigration Justice Team decided at its May meeting to explore making a donation now.
Our Sanctuary Declaration says we will continue to listen, learn and work as individuals. Becoming a pen pal with an incarcerated immigrant is one way to carry out this commitment. Sharon Hale of the IJT is recruiting pen pals for individuals at the Yuba County jail through coordination with Faithful Friends, the local immigrant visitation program. While visits are currently not allowed writing is. Contact Sharon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interested in becoming involved with the Immigration Justice Team or have a question? Contact Stefan Harvey, chair, or a member of the IJT.
Immigration Justice Team (Steve Burns, Karen Friis, Sharon Hale, Jeannette Hogan, Stefan Harvey, Maryanne Perlmutter, Pat Moore Pickett, Kathy Robertson, Jose Torres and Rev. Beth Banks)