In December, the Obama Administration announced a plan for nationwide immigration raids targeting Central American children and families who came to this country fleeing violence in their homelands. This announcement sent a wave of fear through immigrant communities across the nation. In Richmond, community leaders responded quickly with flyers, text messages, e-mails and radio announcements calling people together. Directly affected community members started meeting in mid-January, inviting high school leaders, VCU students and other community activists to join them in the apartment complex where they have organized together for several years now. They shared stories of the impacts of raids and the current situation facing the immigrant community, built trust, shared skills and knowledge with each other and brainstormed ways to stand up to the fear that ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) generates in the Richmond community. The group moved quickly into action, creating a hotline for community members to report the presence of ICE at homes, workplaces, neighborhood streets or police checkpoints. The hotline was named Mira la Migra by one of the immigrant youth leaders and is staffed by a rotating group of allies who respond to the scene where they serve as legal observers, documenting the actions of ICE and/or police officers in order to challenge violations as well as support the people being targeted, reminding community members of their rights and identifying their support needs. The weekly meetings continue with Know Your Rights trainings, campaign strategy sessions and ongoing discussions where participants build a shared political analysis of their current situation, including the criminalization of black and brown people and LGBTQ communities, who profits from the incarceration of people of color, US interventions in Latin...Read More
The voice of the South is changing. What would our movement look like, how much more power could we have if we began communicating well across language? At the center of Wayside’s work is education and building relationships across class, gender, immigration status, sexuality, language, and race. Our language work lies at the center of this commitment: to connect people at the base who often are not engaged in meaningful dialogue around shared struggles.
Central to Wayside’s vision is the belief that those directly affected are the ones best qualified to create solutions to the problems affecting their communities. In addition to creating spaces where people can come together and reflect on those problems, we offer a variety of organizer skills training programs to increase the capacity of our communities to implement those solutions. These range from evening programs to weekend workshops to months-long internships. Most can be offered both at Wayside and in your area.
The Wayside Center offers a beautifully restored 200 year-old farmhouse on 25 lush, river bottom acres for use by your group. If you’re interested in using the space, please contact us and we will get back to you within a couple of days.