Nevertheless, they persisted. We will, too.
I was distressed to wake up this morning to news of ICE (Immigration & Customs Enforcement) raids in cities across the country.
Our Local Progress colleague Greg Casar, a city council member in Austin, TX reached out to let me know about raids taking place in his community. Greg has led the way in making Austin (and the surrounding Travis County) into a sanctuary city, refusing to hand over immigrants in local jails to ICE for possible deportation.
The Washington Post reported raids in at least 6 states last night. It’s clear that many of those rounded up have no criminal records. The result: “panic and terror … running through many immigrant communities,” according to Make the Road NY. And that, of course, that is exactly what the Trump regime is aiming for.
Meanwhile, the Texas State Legislature is considering legislation that would punish local governments for refusing to collaborate with ICE. Not only could Austin be stripped of state funding, but department heads & local legislators like Greg could be removed from office – and even subject to criminal prosecution (definitely puts my annoyance about the NYS Legislature’s vote to overturn our Bring Your Own Bag law in sharp relief).
Greg isn’t backing down, though. He and our colleague Robin Kniech, a Denver city Council member, he wrote this powerful declaration of their intent to keep Austin & Denver places that provide sanctuary, to immigrants and all their residents.
Like Elizabeth Warren: They were warned. They were given an explanation. Nevertheless, they persisted.
That persistence continues to build momentum. This week, we saw two Republicans (notably both female), break away from GOP ranks to vote against Betsy DeVos. We celebrated when the courts again triumphed over President Trump’s travel ban in a 3-0 ruling.
So let’s keep it going. Here are a few more opportunities for persistence and resistance over the next few days:
Join HIAS and the new York Jewish community for a rally overlooking the State of Liberty. It’s our nation’s symbol of hope for those seeking safety and freedom in the United States. We will shed light on the human toll of the refugee ban and galvanize our community to come together as a force for change. RSVP here.
Raise the Age Community Action
I’m so grateful to Congregation Beth Elohim for hosting and participating in #GetOrganizedBK. But they are also fighting the good fight separately and I urge you to participate in their other community action movements. Here’s an opportunity to address the systematic racism plaguing our criminal justice system. In New York, nearly 28,000 16 and 17-year olds are arrested and face the possibility of prosecution as adults in criminal court each year. The vast majority are minor crimes and over 70% are Black or Latino. You’ll learn about the Raise the Age campaign and how we can push foward to pass the Raise the Age bill to make a difference for racial justice. RSVP here.
Trump’s Economic Advisory Council will shape economic policy to fulfill Trump’s goals and even help implement them. That’s why it’s strange that Disney’s CEO Bob Iger decided to join. So no better way to spend Valentine’s Day than to ask Disney to stand on the side of love and support for refugees, immigrants, and working people by stepping down. Uber did it, Disney can too. RSVP here.
Many of you know that NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito has been a friend, an ally, and a progressive champion. We founded the City Council’s Progressive Caucus together in 2010, and we helped bring participatory budgeting to NYC. Under her leadership, the Council has taken significant steps to protect & support immigrants, helped lift up workers from carwasheros to freelancers, and pushed forward in the effort to #CLOSERikers. So I hope you’ll join me for her final State of the City Address where she will talk about our work in the coming days to defend our New York values and ideals. stateofthecity2017 [at] council [dot] nyc [dot] gov (RSVP here).
There are also many more opportunities for action in the #GetOrganizedBK Facebook group. We need to keep persisting and resisting so our smaller wins become bigger ones. So let’s keep organizing. As always, I’ll be there alongside you and hope to see you at some of these events.