A Campaign to Talk About Immigration, Deportation, & Sanctuary in Raleigh
Come Out & Show Them is, by design, a flexible organization.
Each year, we intend to address two or three topics that seem pertinent to and pressing in our community. In the past, that's meant women's health care, voting access, and transgender rights. We use our skills with marketing and fundraising to generate new money and attention for organizations already doing work in these fields.
For the start of this year, we're turning our attention to one of the most urgent set of issues in our community and country: immigration, deportation, and sanctuary.
Between 2009 and 2015, more than 2.5 million people were deported in America. Between 2012 and 2015, 8,000 of those deportees were children. Still, nationwide, the concept of sanctuary—rooted in efforts to aid refugees in the ’80s in the American Southwest—is emerging with renewed vigor. But sanctuary cities are, as of 2015, illegal in North Carolina.
What does this mean for Raleigh, and for the Triangle? What does it mean for our residents and our leaders, our churches and our economy? These are questions we'd like to address in coming months through a series of profile and press campaigns, town halls and benefits. It's a new way to Come Out & Show Them.
SO, WHAT WILL WE DO TO HELP?
Supporting Local Immigrant Organizations: Because of the flexible, fluid nature of Come Out & Show Them, we will never be experts in many of the topics we tackle. A key part of our mission, then, is to meet experts already doing this work, to hear what they have to say, and link them with new audiences who can supply additional energy and additional funding. We are in the process now of meeting with area immigration and refugee groups and learning how we can best support their efforts with money and attention.
Interviews with Area Immigrants: Throughout the next several months, we will use Come Out & Show Them's new blog to publish profiles of area immigrants making our community a more interesting and vibrant place. These profiles will come in the forms of interview, where the subjects can explain their journey to and in America, their hope for the future, and their worries about the present. Jillian Clark will provide portraits of each subject.
Town Halls & Community Forums: Throughout March and April, we will host a small series of town halls and community forums, where experts will lead discussions about how the concepts of immigration, deportation, and sanctuary work. You'll be encouraged to ask questions and to learn how these things impact your community every day.
Benefits, Conversations, & More: We're exploring options for how to expand this effort even more. Have an idea or something you want to see? Please, let us know.
Our goal, above all, with the Welcome to Raleigh, Y'all initiative is to create a conversation about how the systems of immigration, deportation, and sanctuary work. We want to help educate our community about these concepts work and what they mean for our city?
Did you know, for instance, that Wake County is one of only thirty-seven law enforcement organizations in the country to be governed by 287(g) agreement, where Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers and trainees are embedded in our jails? We'd like to talk about what that means for our city, our county, and our citizens.
Here's the agenda for doing just that:
The Welcome to Raleigh, Y'all Campaign: In mid-February, we will begin distributing thousands of stickers and signs throughout Raleigh that say "Welcome to Raleigh, Y'all" in sixteen languages. These are meant to generate awareness of these issues and allow people to express their support for a welcoming, open Raleigh. We've used these languages: Spanish, Arabic, Tagalog, French, Russian, German, Greek, Portuguese, Farsi, Icelandic, English, Chinese, Punjabi, Japanese, Laotian, Hindi. These are now on sale.
The Welcome to Raleigh, Y'all Launch Party: On the evening of Friday, February 24, we are throwing a big benefit party at downtown Raleigh Moroccan restaurant Babylon. Tickets include a Moroccan buffet, wood-fired pizzas, cocktails from Babylon, chocolate from Escazu, beer from Big Boss, music from Made of Oak and Luxe Posh, and more. Proceeds go to funding the sign campaign and to local organizations doing immigration work. UPDATE: This party raised more than $10,000. Thank you for your support!