How To Help Immigrant And Muslim Neighbors

People are turning their frustrations with the Trump administration into actions that make a meaningful difference in the lives of vulnerable community members.


Published:

© Alisdare Hickson via Flickr CC

On Orcas Island in the Washington San Juans, a group of local residents is working with immigrants to create contingency plans for what will happen to children if their parents are unexpectedly picked up, detained, or deported.

And in a small-town West Virginia classroom, Cynthia Evarts is using articles and books about refugees—a young girl from Vietnam, boy soldiers in Sierra Leone—hoping, she said, to give her students a perspective different from the ones they may get at home.

President Trump’s executive orders targeting immigrants have riled a nation, inspiring many to look beyond the marches and big rallies for local actions they can take to make a meaningful difference in people’s lives.

It’s happening not just in the big cities but in the nation’s heartland—even in Amish Country—where immigrants and refugees increasingly are settling down. “Whether it’s been on the streets marching and demonstrating or outreach they’ve made to refugees and Muslims in their communities, the American people are saying these are the values that we embrace, that are important to who we are as human beings, and we will not allow them to be discarded,” said Bill Frelick, New York-based director of the Refugee Rights Program at the Human Rights Watch.

Donations are pouring into organizations that support and defend civil rights, particularly groups like the American Civil Liberties Union. And there has been such a crush of people offering to volunteer, national and local progressive organizations are at a loss for how to use them all.

Americans who might have once struggled to name their U.S. senators and representatives are flooding mailboxes and jamming phone lines into Congress.

And days after a massive show of legal force led to the release of detained travelers nationwide, immigration attorneys from Seattle to New York are still staked out at airports to ensure help is available for passengers who need it.

People are turning their anger into action, borrowing in some cases from the 10 Actions, 100 Days campaign of the women’s marches, finding ways to connect with and support immigrant and Muslim neighbors and communities.

Here are five ways you can help.

1. Get to know Muslims and immigrants in your community.

It’s easier for Americans to hold anti-Islamic views when they don’t personally know any Muslims, said Aneelah Afzali, executive director of the American Muslim Empowerment Network. She believes that it’s only by creating personal connections with those we don’t know that we begin to change hearts and minds.

An initiative that grew out of post-election vandalism at the Muslim Association of Puget Sound mosque in Redmond, Washington, the network is a collaborative effort aimed at bridging gaps between communities and elevating Muslim voices.

As its director, Afzali has been relentless, appearing at rallies and marches and at civil rights and interfaith events, speaking of the Muslim experience. She encourages people to visit a mosque and to learn what Islam is and isn’t.

One way to help educate people, she and other Muslim leaders say, is for those with Muslim friends, neighbors, and co-workers to post to social media and write to newspapers about the contributions of the Muslims they know.

Reaching young people is vital.

At a workshop last month that MAPS-AMEN co-sponsored with an interfaith youth movement called Kids4Peace, middle and high school students of different religions and backgrounds learned about Islam and worked with writing coaches to develop stories—their own and those of Muslims they knew. They later shared those stories with an audience of more than 100 people.

Afzali said the plan is to try to get some of their stories published.

“Some of these kids have written letters to the administration asking why Muslims are being targeted,” she said. “That’s the kind of powerful impact personalization can have.”

2. Take action, together.

Writing and calling members of Congress is a popular strategy right now, and some people are turning it into a party. That’s what Mary Bruce and a group of her friends did in the days following the massive Women’s March on Washington.

They planned to host a postcard party at their favorite neighborhood restaurant, the Potter’s House. But interest in the event ballooned after they posted it on social media, forcing them to search for nearby venues to accommodate the 800-plus who said they were coming.

They set up phone lines for people to call the offices of senators and representatives. For many, it was the first time calling or writing lawmakers.

Bruce said they encouraged people to identify a congressional district they had a connection with—maybe where they grew up or where their parents lived—and to write senators and representatives, regardless of party affiliation. Beyond support for immigrants, people wrote on a range of big issues: education, the environment, women’s reproductive rights. In the end, she mailed more than 1,200 post cards to members from both houses from 40-plus states.

“These are hard and uncertain times, and for a lot of people, very scary,” said Bruce, an independent consultant in D.C.

“People were upset about the executive orders and concerned for family, friends, and their communities. D.C has a large immigrant community, and many people are here on different kinds of visas. [The evening] was alive … with people telling their stories.”

3. Protect your immigrant neighbors.

In conservative Eastern Washington, where large numbers of migrant farm workers are without documents, some local citizens are in early discussions about ways to protect them.

Immigration lawyers believe big worksite and other raids, which ended under President Obama, could return as part of Trump’s strategy to remove undocumented immigrants. Citizens in one Eastern Washington community are planning to have teams of people, operating in shifts, accompany immigrants to the court house, when necessary, or to the farm fields where they work, providing a sort of human shield between immigrants and immigration officers.

“In an area that depends on agricultural laborers, if an ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] car is spotted in the area, people stay home rather than take a chance on meeting ICE in their workplace,” one organizer said.

For obvious reasons, they are keeping their location and identities secret.

4. Educate yourself on immigrants’ rights.

Immigrant allies could consider attending Know Your Rights trainings to understand what rights immigrants have, suggests Pavan Vangipuram of Seattle-based OneAmerica. While such trainings, conducted by immigration lawyers and immigrant groups, are generally designed to educate undocumented immigrants of their rights, supportive citizens might find the training useful, too.

Supporters could also ask an attorney to make a presentation at their church or community center.

Additionally, if you are a service provider, teacher, or health care worker who works with immigrants, find a workshop that teaches specifically about immigration rights. The Seattle-based Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, which was among the legal groups working to free foreign travelers impacted by Trump’s Muslim bans, regularly conducts such immigration workshops.

5. Help families to plan ahead.

On Orcas Island, Eleanor Hoague is among a group of local residents helping the small population of immigrants there to create a safety plan for their children in the event the parents are picked up and deported. Information about how to establish such a directive is increasingly becoming part of Know Your Rights trainings.

A sample plan from the Legal Counsel for Youth and Children, for example, guides parents on how to establish who would pick a child up from school if parents are picked up and who would be given legal authority to make decisions on the child’s behalf.

“It’s a matter of figuring out where they would live [and] who among the relatives they have here would not be deported,” said Hoague, a retired immigration attorney. “There’s no question there’s now more urgency.”

Lornet Turnbull wrote this article for YES! MagazineLornet ­­­­­­­­­­­­is a Seattle-based freelance writer. She most recently worked as a reporter for the Seattle Times, covering a range of social issues, including immigration. She can be reached at lturnbull321@gmail.com.

This article was republished from YES! Magazine.

See also:
What To Do If You Are Witnessing Islamophobic Harassment
I Trust You

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Daily Astrology

October 20, 2017

A trio of planets in early Scorpio, comprised of Jupiter, Mercury and the Moon, fans flames of hope today. The intrepid threesome is nicely aligned with mystical Neptune. Spiritual, as well as altruistic and artistic leanings are brilliantly served…
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Alternative Health Directory

Browse all listings »

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

October 2017

Learn Reiki — revitalizing self-care and healing in the palm of your hands. Facilitated by Lou Orsan, Reiki Shihan (master teacher.) This one-day class covers the...

Cost: $125

Where:
Northeast Reiki Center
61 Nicholas Road
Framingham, MA  01701
View map »


Sponsor: Northeast Reiki Center
Telephone: 508-808-5696
Contact Name: Lou Orsan
Website »

More information

With Barbara Blanchard Headaches are a common clinical condition that can benefit from acupuncture and acupressure treatment. This workshop will study the different types of headaches as defined...

Cost: $125 students, $175 professionals

Where:
Roots and Wings Yoga and Healing Arts
317 North Main Street
Natick, MA  01760
View map »


Sponsor: Eastern Medicinal Therapies Education Center
Telephone: 617-435-3586
Contact Name: Lauren Paap
Website »

More information

January 14 - December 9, 2017 With Tom Frederick Novice — This 12-month program is designed to assist you on your journey to spiritual enlightenment. Here we study a variety of esoteric...

Cost: $1300

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

More information

All-day retreat, including meal, movement, morning and afternoon experiential sessions. Limited spots, pre-registration required. Email Kyle@PortalCrystalGallery.com or visit...

Where:
Portal Crystal Gallery
489 Mass Ave.
Arlington, MA
View map »


Sponsor: Crystal Concentrics
Contact Name: Kyle Russell
Website »

More information

Guided loving kindness meditation every Sunday at HeartSong Spiritual Wellness. No charge to attend. Donations are appreciated to help support this non-profit wellness center. Read more:...

Cost: Free

Where:
HeartSong Spiritual Wellness
23 Pine Street
Milford, MA  01757
View map »


Sponsor: HeartSong
Contact Name: Jacki Rose
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

January 14 - December 9, 2017 With Tom Frederick Novice — This 12-month program is designed to assist you on your journey to spiritual enlightenment. Here we study a variety of esoteric...

Cost: $1300

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

More information

The Daoist Benevolent Association offers free classes on traditional Wudang style tai chi. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Brown School
42 Milk St Newburyport
Newburyport, MA  01950
View map »


Sponsor: Daoist Benevolent Association
Telephone: 978-462-4617
Contact Name: Barbara
Website »

More information

Nancy's therapeutic and healing nature stems from her own personal journey through health struggles. Her style is open to everyone, no matter physical or mental challenges, or age....

Cost: $15 drop in or $12 with 10 class bundle

Where:
HeartSong Spiritual Wellness
23 Pine Street
Milford, MA  01757
View map »


Sponsor: HeartSong Spiritual Wellness Center
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

January 14 - December 9, 2017 With Tom Frederick Novice — This 12-month program is designed to assist you on your journey to spiritual enlightenment. Here we study a variety of esoteric...

Cost: $1300

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

More information

Come join Mary Budrose on October 17, November 14, December 14, from 7-8pm to learn more about the The Budrose Center For Spiritual Growth healing program and experience a chakra balancing...

Where:
Budrose Center for Spiritual Growth (Blossom Healings)
54 Main Street
Topsfield, MA  01983
View map »


Telephone: 978-561-1687
Contact Name: Mary Budrose
Website »

More information

The Daoist Benevolent Association offers free classes on traditional Wudang style tai chi. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Brown School
42 Milk St Newburyport
Newburyport, MA  01950
View map »


Sponsor: Daoist Benevolent Association
Telephone: 978-462-4617
Contact Name: Barbara
Website »

More information

One-of-a-kind, life changing holistic health education program again being offered free of charge Local business owner shares groundbreaking mind-body-spirit course to combat obesity epidemic...

Cost: Free

Where:
Wilbraham Senior Center
45 Post Office Park
#4502
Wilbraham, MA  01095
View map »


Sponsor: Harmony Way
Telephone: 413-636-2475
Contact Name: Michelle Caron
Website »

More information

Beginner Kripalu Yoga with Lisa Davidson Brand new to yoga or returning after a break, this class is kind and challenging for your body, relaxing and destressing for your mind, and will help you...

Cost: $113 for 7 weeks

Where:
A Yoga Leaf
@ Whimsy
686 Worcester Rd.
Framingham, MA  01702
View map »


Sponsor: Lisa Davidson
Contact Name: Lisa Davidson
Website »

More information

A unique divine healing meditation, lead by Bhavna, to help you in your life; with your relationships, money, work and family. Also, the meditation helps with letting go to release...

Cost: $10

Where:
Bhavna’s Wellness Group
512 Main St.
Penthouse Suite
Shrewsbury, MA  01545
View map »


Sponsor: Bhavna’s Wellness Group
Telephone: 508-970-5620
Contact Name: Krista Bennett
Website »

More information

Daoist Priest Zhou Xuanyun teaches traditional Wudang style kung fu.

Cost: $110/month

Where:
Boston Ultimate Fitness
72 Beach Street (4th Floor)
Boston, MA  02111
View map »


Sponsor: Daoist Gate Wudang Arts
Telephone: 508-245-8305
Contact Name: Zhou Xuanyun
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

January 14 - December 9, 2017 With Tom Frederick Novice — This 12-month program is designed to assist you on your journey to spiritual enlightenment. Here we study a variety of esoteric...

Cost: $1300

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

More information

Christopher Penczak discusses how you can call upon Michael for aid in your own life and to help the planet. Explore the lore and magick of this beloved figure who crosses many cultures and...

Cost: $35

Where:
Circles of Wisdom
90 Main Street
Andover, MA  01810
View map »


Telephone: 978-474-8010
Website »

More information

October 18 - 20, 2017  With Renée Starr Ladies, reclaim your sacredness, awaken your devotion, and become the magic you seek. Details at www.goddesspriestesswitch.com. ...

Where:
ZuZu's Healing Arts
122 West Emerson
Melrose, MA  02176
View map »


Telephone: 781-665-8844
Website »

More information

This gentle yoga class is good for all skill levels. Scheduled perfectly in the middle of your week; the movements will be a welcome respite to your usual morning routine.

Cost: $10

Where:
Bhavna’s Wellness Group
512 Main St.
Penthouse Suite
Shrewsbury, MA  01545
View map »


Sponsor: Bhavna’s Wellness Group
Telephone: 508-970-5620
Contact Name: Krista Bennett
Website »

More information

Weekly yoga classes with Rev. Michelle Caron, RMT, CYT, ZIN of Harmony Way on Wednesdays at 12:15 PM and Fridays at 9:30 AM at the Wilbraham Senior Center. Class welcomes all ages and uses a...

Cost: $5

Where:
Wilbraham Senior Center
45 Post Office Park, #4502
Wilbraham, MA  01095
View map »


Sponsor: Harmony Way
Telephone: 413-636-2475
Contact Name: Rev. Michelle Caron, RMT, CYT, ZIN
Website »

More information

With Lisa Rockenmacher and Kristan Bishop Looking for a deeper connection with bliss? Seeking practical ways to increase wellness and health in all aspect of your life? Do you desire a...

Cost: $100

Where:
YogaLife Institute of NH
6 Chestnut Street
Lower Level
Exeter, NH  03833
View map »


Sponsor: YogaLife Institute of NH
Telephone: 603-969-8968
Contact Name: Brian Serven
Website »

More information

Are you ready to embrace more self-compassion and nurturing into your life? Take the plunge now! This 6 week group will weave yoga, creative arts, meditation, journaling and...

Cost: $180

Where:
Integrated Psychotherapy
31 Hastings Street
Mendon, MA  01756
View map »


Telephone: 508-335-6732
Contact Name: Sherri Snyder, MA, LMHC
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

January 14 - December 9, 2017 With Tom Frederick Novice — This 12-month program is designed to assist you on your journey to spiritual enlightenment. Here we study a variety of esoteric...

Cost: $1300

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

More information

​One Night Only in Portland! Enlightened Spiritual Teacher Dave Oshana! Experience the transformational miracles of the enlightenment transmission. Enjoy the freedom to be your true self!...

Cost: Free, donations accepted.

Where:
Z Dance Club
1844 Forest Avenue
Portland, ME  04103
View map »


Sponsor: Enlightenment Transmission Foundation
Telephone: 207-443-7001
Contact Name: Maryanna Bock
Website »

More information

What are smudge fans, and what are they used for? Smudging is probably best known as a Native American ritual, although smudging has been used since ancient times by many people as a ceremony of...

Cost: $25

Where:
YOUnity Yoga & Wellness
189 Main Street
4th floor
Milford, MA  01757
View map »


Sponsor: YOUnity Yoga & Wellness
Telephone: 508-478-3333
Contact Name: Barbara Hickson
Website »

More information

In this 220-hour, one-year program with lead trainer Hari Kaur, you will become an instructor and learn the fundamental principles and practices of Kundalini Yoga.

Where:
Yoga At The Ashram
368 Village Street
Millis, MA
View map »


Telephone: 508-376-4525
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

January 14 - December 9, 2017 With Tom Frederick Novice — This 12-month program is designed to assist you on your journey to spiritual enlightenment. Here we study a variety of esoteric...

Cost: $1300

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

More information

People get ready! We are going to stir it up! One time only! Join Chuck Raffoni (Relax and Recharge with Chuck) for a night of Broga® Yoga, Bob Marley and Brews at Western Ave. Studios in...

Cost: $25

Where:
Western Ave Studios
122 Western Ave
Lowell, MA  01851
View map »


Sponsor: Relax and Recharge with Chuck
Contact Name: Chuck
Website »

More information

Certification in Core Energetics with directors Karyne Wilner, PsyD and Charles Corley, Med. For heart-centered psychotherapists and body-mind healers. Training begins October 20.

Where:
Middletown, RI


Telephone: 401-316-7401
Website »

More information

Weekly yoga classes with Rev. Michelle Caron, RMT, CYT, ZIN of Harmony Way on Wednesdays at 12:15 PM and Fridays at 9:30 AM at the Wilbraham Senior Center. Class welcomes all ages and uses a...

Cost: $5

Where:
Wilbraham Senior Center
45 Post Office Park, #4502
Wilbraham, MA  01095
View map »


Sponsor: Harmony Way
Telephone: 413-636-2475
Contact Name: Rev. Michelle Caron, RMT, CYT, ZIN
Website »

More information

Daoist Priest Zhou Xuanyun teaches traditional Wudang style kung fu.

Cost: $110/month

Where:
Boston Ultimate Fitness
72 Beach Street (4th Floor)
Boston, MA  02111
View map »


Sponsor: Daoist Gate Wudang Arts
Telephone: 508-245-8305
Contact Name: Zhou Xuanyun
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

October 21 - 22, 2017 A two-day training facilitated by Reiki Shihan (Master-Teacher), Lou Orsan This two-day Level II training enhances your knowledge and practice of traditional Japanese...

Cost: $190

Where:
Northeast Reiki Center
61 Nicholas Road, Suite B2
Framingham, MA  01701
View map »


Sponsor: Northeast Reiki Center
Telephone: 508-808-5696
Contact Name: Lou Orsan
Website »

More information

Do you desire more connection and nourishing touch?  Do you find it hard to ask for what you really would like in life and in the bedroom? Do you want to improve your confidence and...

Cost: $97

Where:
Watertown Center for Healing Arts
17 Spring St
Watertown, MA
View map »


Sponsor: Conscious Intimacy
Telephone: 415-244-1652
Contact Name: Brynn Bishop
Website »

More information

January 14 - December 9, 2017 With Tom Frederick Novice — This 12-month program is designed to assist you on your journey to spiritual enlightenment. Here we study a variety of esoteric...

Cost: $1300

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags