by Kesi Foster, Urban Youth Collaborative (NYC)
December 16, 2016
Black and Brown youth have never received sanctuary in this country, its cities, our communities, or in the institutions that are supposed to provide a safe, nurturing and supportive environment, including our schools. Despite Mayor’s and municipal governments from New York to Philadelphia and Los Angeles to the Bay Area cities, reaffirming their commitments to be “Sanctuary Cities,” Black and Brown youth are entangled in a web of oppressive, discriminatory, and dehumanizing policing and criminal justice systems weaved on the local level around their communities and schools.
The Sanctuary Cities movement emerged in the 1980’s when communities worked with churches to provide sanctuary for people leaving Central America due to political instability fostered by US involvement. The churches promised a safe haven free from the clutches of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. As the Obama Administration aggressively moved to break-up immigrant families, deporting more people than the 2.5 million people, the Sanctuary City movement began to redefine sanctuary to address the new conditions. This has included varying levels of commitment by Municipal governments to not cooperate with ICE. Some Sanctuary Cities have passed policies to not share local law enforcement information with ICE and not to detain individuals for minor crimes based on their status. Other districts have passed mostly symbolic commitments to limit interactions between local law enforcement and ICE. Certain districts provide legal and social supports for undocumented communities. Today, close to 50 cities across the country claim to be sanctuaries by providing protections from an unjust, unforgiving, and discriminatory federal criminal legal system.
Unfortunately, Black and Brown young people and their families in these same cities are not protected from unjust, unforgiving and discriminatory local criminal […]