At its heart, WNC Sanctuary Movement is dedicated to ensuring that western North Carolina is a “positive place” for Latinx communities, one in which families can live their lives without fear of sudden detainment or deportation. When our verifiers assess a potential threat like an ICE checkpoint, they directly inform the Latinx community whether their neighborhoods are “healthy public spaces that encourage gathering” — as the THRIVE model defines a “positive place” — or places of imminent danger if they leave their homes. The families we serve cannot assume their neighborhoods are safe, so the work we do is crucial to increasing their sense of security in their communities.
Fundamentally, WNC Sanctuary Movement is a grassroots effort comprised of a multi-faceted coalition of community and faith leaders within and without the Latinx community, as well as over 500 allied members. By working in a dedicated partnership with the Latinx community to make western North Carolina a safe space, we slowly rebuild trust that has been severely damaged in the wake of the current administration’s immigration policies. Emerging and established Latinx leaders are members of the WNC Sanctuary Movement Council, a group of 15 who oversee the organization. Through our Congregational working group, we also educate and support faith communities — the traditional providers of sanctuary — in their efforts to provide physical sanctuary within their neighborhoods.
When we help families procure the legal fees to free their loved ones from detention, we not only reunite families but also often return working men and women to their jobs. By helping DACA recipients renew their applications, we ensure that they can legally apply for local jobs. These are just some of the ways in which we “improve equitable opportunity” for a community currently living in inequitable conditions.