CIMA connects, strengthens and organizes communities to take action for immigrants rights in Western North Carolina. CIMA strives for inclusive communities with justice, freedom, and equality for all.
Hence, at its heart, CIMA/ WNC Sanctuary Movement is an extension of this mission. Sanctuary, as defined by CIMA, is a space for refuge for all targeted communities such as black and brown bodies, the LGBTQ community, immigrants, the Latinx community, etc. We are committed to weaving an intersectionality of protection, active resistance, education, resilience, resources, healing, critical thinking, contemplative action and transformation.
As a Latinx led organization, our efforts have focused on resisting oppression and mobilizing for a “positive place” for targeted and Latinx communities, one in which families can live their lives without fear of sudden detainment or deportation. We understand that our work in protecting the Latinx community does not occur in isolation, but rather within a larger systemic and historical context of oppression, racism, direct and indirect violence, ransacking our communities for profit, criminalization, dehumanization and the over policing of communities of color. The framework of our work is that of solidarity.
We are a multi-faceted community coalition.
Verification/Hotline: To report license checkpoints, raids, or ICE activity that may be happening in our community to a hotline hosted by CIMA. This group of verifiers are training up so we can successfully confirm or deny these reports, send out an alert to the community as a warning, and be prepared as rapid response to those who are caught up in the criminalization system and keep them out of jails/prisons and away from ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement).
Congregational: To help educate and support faith communities who are discerning how to provide sanctuary or related assistance to those who seek it.
Support and Healing: To explore what people and families in targeted groups need for ongoing support and healing as we live in this climate of oppression. And to put together a response team to support those who are experiencing particular crises related to being targeted (immediate needs, rides, connected to services, child care). To create an infrastructure for healing and support, and determine how to support/protect folks during ICE check-ins since they’re now occasionally being used for immediate deportations.
Legal Support: To develop a list of attorneys and other immigration legal resources in WNC, to determine useful emergency planning documents (e.g., contact info, wishes, power of attorneys for care for underage children and financial assets) for individuals who might be detained or deported. Interview attorneys on experience and accountability; invite them to create a cohort. Develop advocacy trainings to learn legal system, be present during lawyer consultations and be able to legally represent ourselves/each other. Determine legal resources for providing sanctuary.
Sanctuary Fund: To raise funds for legal expenses that undocumented immigrants facing legal actions may require and raise funds for expenses associated with ensuring sanctuary; to determine basic policies for how funds will be distributed. To create ongoing strategies for raising sanctuary funds.
Advocacy: To respond to public policy issues at the local, state, and federal levels that are eroding a culture of sanctuary, including, criminalizing our communities and targeting individuals for incarceration, detention, and/or deportation. Putting pressure on (and when appropriate supporting if they’re feeling pressure from ICE) current and potential local elected officials, to analyze their criminalization plan and hold them accountable. Documenting cases or reports to build a campaign.
Based in Asheville, COLA (Coalición de Organizaciones Latino-Americanas) formed out of a need for Latino-led organizations in rural Western North Carolina mountain counties to connect, learn from each other, and work together. The Center for Participatory Change, an organization that supports grassroots organizations in the region, realized that although they were working with several Latino organizations, it seemed these groups were not working with one another. In some cases, these groups did not even know that other regional Latino organizations existed.
In October 2002, these groups came together for the first Encuentro, or gathering. COLA was a regional network connecting and strengthening organizations that empower Latino communities in Western North Carolina. At one point about 25 organizations actively participate in the coalition.
The organization’s focus moved from working closely with organizations toward individuals that live in the Western Region. Thus in November 2015, the organization changed its name to CIMA- Compañeros Inmigrantes de las Montañas en Acción to better reflect the community the organization works with.
The Compañeros Inmigrantes de las Montañas en Acción (CIMA) connects, strengthens and organizes communities to take action for immigrants’ rights in Western North Carolina.
CIMA strives for inclusive communities with justice, freedom, and equality for all.
CIMA believes grassroots communities have the wisdom and experience to direct their future.
CIMA believes that the coalition is best guided by full participation of its members.
CIMA believes that all people should be treated with respect and dignity.
CIMA believes in equal opportunities, equal rights and in fair and just laws.
CIMA believes in the strength of diversity and multi-lingual spaces