Host or sponsor “Know Your Rights” workshops – tips for your event
Hosting or sponsoring a “Know Your Rights” workshop is a way to provide education and support that is potentially life-saving for those facing deportation. Many of our undocumented neighbors left their native countries fleeing violence, torture, and/or gangs, and if deported, face a future that is uncertain at best. The education your workshop provides will help provide critical information. Again, it is strongly recommended that you reach out to the local bar association to obtain the participation of an immigration attorney.
As suggested last week, a good first step may be partnering another organization experienced in hosting Know Your Rights Workshops. When you are ready to host your own workshops, the tips below – which were provided by the Sacred Resistance of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, provide a framework for you.
1. Know your audience in order to provide the most accessible date/time/location for the workshop.
2. Connect with local immigrant rights organizations/immigration attorneys that have expertise on the issues related to your workshop generally, and can also speak to what's happening locally related to immigration enforcement.
3. Include information about creating family preparedness plans/child custody plans in the event of a detention/deportation:
3. Do provide a theological/faith framing for why you are doing this work! Our Baptismal Covenant is great for this, as are many scriptures related to immigration and welcoming the stranger.
4. Provide translation, or plan to conduct the workshop in the most relevant language(s) needed.
5. Provide Know Your Rights literature/resources in multiple languages.
6. Provide child care.
7. Prepare for a worst-case scenario in case detractors/anti-immigrant voices show up and try to disrupt your workshop. Have extra volunteers, and legal observers if possible, to play this role. Visible clergy may be helpful in helping to de-escalate a situation.
8. Build community, build the rapid response network. Collect names, emails, phone numbers for those willing to support the ongoing work!
If you have any questions or contributions, please email me at DeaconNancy@diosanjoaquin.org.