During the Trump administration, more people sought sanctuary in churches in Philadelphia than any other city in the United States. The city was also on the front lines of progressive policy making, defending its sanctuary policies in federal court. In this collection of essays and interviews, a diverse set of authors examine the promise and limits of sanctuary. Contributors include Carmela Apolonio Hernández, who spent over three years living in sanctuary to resist deportation, community organizers who work to build a more just and inclusive city, and leading academics who explore the origins of sanctuary and its intersections with the workplace, policing, and university campuses. Collectively, these authors offer a roadmap for how sanctuary is created and sustained and argue for a future in which no human being is illegal.
Amada Armenta is associate professor of urban planning at UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs.
Caitlin Barry is associate professor of law and director of the Farmworker Legal Aid Clinic at Villanova University.
Abel Rodríguez is visiting assistant professor of law and director of the Clinic for Asylum, Refugee, and Emigrant Services at Villanova University.
Part I: Organizing Sanctuary Campaigns
1. En la Lucha: A Movement Leader Reflects on Her Search for Sanctuary
A Conversation with Carmela Apolonio Hernández
2. Resistance in Sacred Spaces
A Conversation with Reverend Renee McKenzie-Hayward
3. Taking Sanctuary: The Fight for Immigrant Liberation through Public Sanctuary Church Campaigns
David C. Bennion
4. Building a Movement for Sanctuary for All
Erika Almirón and Erika Guadalupe Núñez with Caitlin Barry
Part II. Creating Sanctuary in the City
5. Coalition Building for City Sanctuary Policies
6. Creating Sanctuary through Art and Organizing
Michelle Angela Ortiz
7. Redefining Justice in Prosecution
8. Sanctuary and Worker Rights
Jennifer Lee with Cristina Martínez and Benjamin Miller
Part III. Perspectives on Sanctuary
9. Deconstructing Police-ICE Collaboration in Philadelphia
10. Sanctuary in Policy and Practice at Swarthmore College
Elaine Allard and Edwin Mayorga
11. Examining the Past: A History of Sanctuary Movements and Practices
This group of leading activists and scholars has produced a brilliant set of chapters. From congregations to college campuses to city hall, they illuminate the diverse practices and meanings of sanctuary. A provocative and moving read, and a highly original contribution to social movement studies!
Ranging widely—from testimonies by asylum seekers, undocumented workers, and their allies to accounts of the sanctuary movement in Philadelphia, the long history of sanctuary, and related topics—The Road to Sanctuary combines primary and secondary materials that will inform and inspire students, scholars, policy makers and activists in Philadelphia and far beyond.
The new sanctuary movement has been reported on with frequency in response to the resurgence of nativism and xenophobia, but it has never been written from the inside. The Road to Sanctuary is a powerful account of the movement — moving undocumented activism from the margins to the center — providing powerful direct accounts of the realities and complexities of those living in sanctuary and their allies. The narratives force the reader to engage with the reality that the law — at times — is not liberatory for those seeking change. The narratives force the reader to critically engage with intersectional allyship and coalition building between African Americans and immigrants. Law students and lawyers engaging in movement lawyering must begin here — centering and humbly listening to communities on the frontline.
Philadelphia’s road to sanctuary was paved by organizers and movements who met the moment and understood our collective power to change it — this compilation of their stories is compelling and timeless. The Road to Sanctuary is a profound reminder that the democracy we need is the one we build ourselves.
This compelling book represents a unique collaboration of some of the organizers, activists, artists, lawyers, faith leaders, and academics who, together with immigrant residents, have worked together to make the city of Philadelphia a sanctuary. It is a how-to guide, a vehicle for reflection, and a significant academic analysis, offering important insights into the history and meaning of sanctuary movements, and the power, limits, and potential of contemporary sanctuary efforts.
The Road to Sanctuary offers a deep dive into the work of community organizations, sanctuary leaders, lawyers, artists, allies, and city government in creating sanctuary in Philadelphia, foregrounding as it should the voices of undocumented immigrants. The book contextualizes contemporary movements in Philadelphia’s long history of sanctuary while offering valuable guidance to those who pursue radically inclusive social change in communities across the nation.