A moment of stinging clarity is now upon us. Today, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to set in motion the process of building a wall along the US-Mexico border, stripping federal funding from sanctuary cities, increasing the size of US Border Patrol forces and increasing deportations. In response, we must plunge even more urgently into the hard local work of building sanctuary.
A year ago, my team at #Not1More Deportation and I drafted this reflection on the nature of sanctuary:
We are from a lineage of our community who made a way when there was no way, who provided political and spiritual cover so the rest of us could come ahead …. When we seek to enter movement, and we converge, these spaces, they are sacred, because they are a form of sanctuary. Sanctuary is a spiritual stance. Sanctuary says: oppression is trying to fill our lives with fear and blood and daily numbing horror. But not in here. Not in my home. Not in my bed. Not in my movement. Sanctuary makes a ring of fire around our people. Sanctuary grants us a taste of reprieve and protection so they can gather strength to go out there again and fight. Sanctuary is our duty. A movement space must hold sanctuary.
These words have new meaning to me today. And in a political moment when pillars of justice appear to be falling all around us, sanctuary also has new meaning for millions of other people throughout the US. Those of us who cannot vote, those of us who have been marginalized — we were not asked if we wanted to live in such times as this, in a place such as this in which we now find ourselves. But we must decide what to do with the moment now upon us.
As we move into Trump’s first 100 days, the attacks on our advances, on our bodies and on our values come from all angles. This moment can be disorienting and overwhelming. I know it is hard to get up and fight. I know many of us are not sure what comes next, or how. But, deep down, we know what is happening.