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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

NEW DATE! "Solidarity -- Then and Now" to be held on Thurs March 4th

Please help us spread the word about our new date for the special event "Solidarity -- Then and Now"

NEW DATE -- Thursday, March 4th, from 7pm to 9pm
SAME LOCATION --  Tabernacle United Church located at Chestnut and 37th Street (enter on 37th)

We're expecting a big turnout for this evening of storytelling and inspiration with Philadelphia leaders from the ORIGINAL Sanctuary movement of the 1980s together with the NEW Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia.   We'll be honoring Central Baptist, FUMCOG, Tabernacle, St. Vincents, Germantown Friends, Chestnut Hill Friends, Mishkan Shalom, and possibly others for their solidarity commitments in the 1980s.  And we will officially welcome Mishkan Shalom and Visitation BVM as the first congregations to affiliate with the New Sanctuary Movement.  In addition, we have plans for special music, photographs by Harvey Finkle, and stories by current immigrants in Philadelphia.

The Meaning of Our Immigrants

RE YOUR Feb. 2 article "Immigration-bill Marchers Win a Nod from Rep. Brady":

I'm writing to clarify the significance of what happened and to address the long-standing misconception of the immigrant community and immigration reform.

Attendees including Indonesian-, Cambodian- and Latino-Americans encouraged support of HR 4321. Testimony came from people who have been living in South Philly for more than 25 years, a pastor, owners of businesses and homes, and people who work more than one job.

Most important, all of these people have been contributing members of their South Philly communities. They all support and love their family, friends and neighbors.
The only difference is that these folks were not born here. Under current immigration legislation. . .

* A woman is facing permanent separation from her son. She has been living and managing a business in South Philly with her family for more than two decades. Her son, who came here as a refugee with his family, may be deported for an offense he served time for more than a decade ago.
* A man who came to the U.S. legally hasn't seen his children or wife for years due to the backlogging of their immigration papers.

* A young and hardworking man who is providing for his family silently accepts great risks. He is vulnerable to violence due to racism and misunderstanding but cannot call the police. He knows that contact with police could lead to deportation, and then instability and poverty for his family.

Immigration reform is about far more than jobs and legalization. It is about family, humanity and giving people the validity they deserve. Jobs provide food and shelter to family and children. Legalization acknowledges the rights and the hard work of our neighbors.

HR 4321 offers family unity, not family separation due to old and outdated laws that need to be changed.

Mia-lia Kiernan, Philadelphia

Looking at the Other Side of 'Illegal'

IN "Immigration's Unspoken Word" (Feb. 2), columnist Stu Bykofsky calls attention to the fact that many immigrants are considered "illegal."

I'd like to emphasize that being in the U.S. without documentation isn't a criminal offense. It's a civil offense like speeding or jaywalking. People jaywalk for a number of reasons: They're late, or need to catch the next bus, or there's something happening on the other side of the street. Similarly, people immigrate to the U.S. "illegally" out of need. In the end it is not often a choice, it's a matter of survival.

The movement of people across the U.S.-Mexico border isn't only a matter of survival of the people migrating north, it's also a matter of survival for our economy. Up to 75 percent of unauthorized immigrants pay federal, state and local taxes. Undocumented workers are estimated to pay about $7 billion a year into Social Security. The average immigrant pays $1,800 more in taxes than she receives in public benefits, according to a study by the National Research Council and National Academy of Sciences. Over their lifetimes, the average immigrant and her immediate descendants contribute $80,000 more in taxes than they receive in benefits.

The average migrant is a 29-year-old Mexican male, earning less than $7,500 a year with a life expectancy of 49 years. As these workers accept low-paying jobs, long hours and no benefits, they keep our daily goods such as fruits, vegetables - and even housing developments - more affordable. Just imagine how expensive all goods and products would be without these low-wage workers who are called "illegal."

Jennifer Rock, Philadelphia

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Postponing Feb 11th event due to snow storm

We are very sorry, but we have decided to postpone Thursday night's event, "Solidarity - Then and Now," due to the coming snow storm.  After so much work, we were reluctant to do so, but felt it was the best decision.  We are still really excited about the event, and are rescheduling it for Thursday Feb 25 or Thursday Mar 4.  We will send an email once we get a final answer on the space.

Please help us spread the word about this change of plans within your network of contacts.

 Sorry for any inconvenience, but we look forward to bringing everyone together for a great night in 2 or 3 weeks. 

Philadelphia NSM and related immigration events