Turning the Tide Grassroots Summit

This past weekend, we joined several of our colleagues and friends from the Interfaith Immigration Coalition at the Turning the Tide national summit in Arlington, VA. Turning the Tide is a grassroots, migrant rights conference where community leaders, organizers, and advocates gather to exchange strategies and strengthen local, regional and national campaigns in “turning the tide from hate to human rights.”

Turning the Tide had two clear emphases: combating the anti-immigrant methodology of “enforcement through attrition,” and acknowledging the real, powerful impact when local communities are involved in advocating for themselves. “Nothing about us without us” was a central conference slogan, one those of us in the faith community would do well to emblazon on our thinking about and work surrounding migrant rights. One of OUR central focuses, as people of faith, should be getting to know the members of our migrant communities, our neighbors—creating and maintaining relationships with impacted people.

The benefits we can reap from Turning the Tide are myriad. Numerous coalitions and organizations shared success stories of defeating anti-immigrant legislation and sentiment in their states and communities. This summer, Georgia is hosting a Summer of Human Rights that centers on ridding the state of HB-87, a tremendously punitive Arizona SB-1070 copycat law. Numerous organizations and communities from across the country pledged to join in solidarity with Georgia by holding vigils, launching boycotts, and implementing a long series of various resistance movements. The expanding summer 2011 calendar of solidarity events, sketched out by conference organizers in the final hours of Turning the Tide, conjured up parallels with the 1964 “freedom summer” that ultimately resulted in the signing of the Civil Rights Act.

In the following paragraphs, we’ve included some of the most important resources and information we gleaned at Turning the Tide. We hope you’ll not only find them informative, but inspiring—an increased impetus to engage with both our allies and our detractors by working to defend against criminalization and division, and to advance inclusion, equality, and humane reforms.

Organizations Working for Migrant Justice:

  • The National Day Labor Organizing Network – if you’re not already connected with a NDLON member in your state, you should be! They’re charged up and have made huge changes for human rights in  communities across the country
  • New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice -organizing workers across race and industry to build power around the justice movement
  • Coalición de Derechos Humanos (AZ) – organizing events, campaigns, and the documentation of human rights abuses
  • Puente Movement (AZ) – organizing and educating on migrant justice and human rights
  • Somos Georgia  This group is orchestrating boycotts and played a major role in the initiation of the Georgia Summer of Human Rights (see below) in response to the anti-immigrant HB-87
  • Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights –working on a variety of projects – a great inspiration for other local groups
  • Interfaith Workers Justice – combines faith with rallying for workers’ human rights. Check out the concise and handyUnemployment and the Economic Crisis: A Congregational Toolkit in the “Resources” section too
  • Virginia New Majority – educates and organizes Virginians in support of social and economic justice for all people, particularly African-Americans, immigrants, youth, women, and the LGBTQ community
  • SmartMeme – helps develop “story-based strategy and messaging” as a method of changing public understanding of immigration issues
  • Cuéntame – organizing divestment strategies to stop funding for private prison industries that are profiting from criminalizing and detaining immigrants
  • Alliance for Justice – a national association of more than 100 organizations dedicated to advancing justice and democracy, with numerous resources to help non-profits and congregations educate voters about these issues

Know-Your-Rights Resources:

Art and Activism:

“We Are Human Girl English” by Ernesto Yerena

There was amazing artwork displayed at Turning the Tide by activists across the nation. One young artist, Ernesto Yerena, creates works that work focuses on peace, liberty, and justice, with a distinctive style of print making. Check it out and see if you can use some of his art in your local campaigns! This would be a great way to reach out to him and others in order to build a national movement! Check out the website here.

Georgia Summer of Human Rights 2011: Sign up to take part HERE.

5/30 Emergency Meeting To Defeat Anti-Immigrant Bills & Secure Communities

6/1 Just Communities Statewide Lobby Day: Call Governor Patrick

6/1 Oppose HB-744: Call Speaker Tillis @ 919.733.3451

6/1-3: NY Cuomo Opt Out: SUCCESSFUL!

6/2 Rally Against Sheriff Baca in LA & End of 30-Day Notice of IL S-Comm Notice for Termination

6/9 Introduction of Anti-Student Bill

6/14 Introduction of POWER Act

6/19 NC Silent Protest

6/20 Rally in Austin Against New Detention Center and Secure Communities

7/1 Launching of Human Rights Summer in GA

*Divest from Prisons National Actions

7/2 Mass Mobilization in GA (Solidarity Actions Across Country)

*Solidarity Action across NJ and No To S-Comm

*Gainesville FL

*Indianapolis, IN

*San Francisco, CA

*North Carolina

7/12 Caring Across Generations (for regional CARE Congress coming up)

8/4 Student Labor Action Project

8/5-7 Jobs With Justice Congress (Washington, DC)

*Tucson, OH—Day Laborer & Domestic Workers in Solidarity Press Conference

*Midwest Action- Latino Youth Collective in Indianapolis

Let us know if you have questions or want any more information about Turning the Tide or how to connect with others who were there. You can email us at servicespeaks@churchworldservice.org. Thanks for reading, and we hope we can help you in this great work!

Hannah Levinson and Fareeha Khan, CWS interns