Do you believe in the depths of your soul that “No human being is illegal”? Do you fill up with righteous indignation or tears of empathy every time you hear about an ICE raid? Does living in a Sanctuary Community make you swell with pride, but leave you wishing that there were more that you could do personally to prevent arbitrary deportations of our neighbors from other lands?
If this describes you, take heart: There’s an organization in our region with boots on the ground and pertinent training, intervening on behalf of targeted immigrants and refugees. It’s called the Ulster Immigration Defense Network (UIDN), a grassroots, all-volunteer coalition formed by concerned residents and local faith communities to provide a network of safety and support to immigrants regardless of status. Besides maintaining a rapid-response team for ICE actions, UIDN’s services include assisting immigrants with “know-your-rights” information; referrals to legal support and social services; community education and advocacy; safe spaces and sanctuary; clothing, household goods and emergency financial aid; and transportation and accompaniment for health care and school-related appointments, court appearances, ICE check-ins and other official meetings.
Maybe you can’t always be in the right place at the right time to put your body on the line between wannabe US citizens and the agents who are trying to spirit them away, but there’s something any of us with any disposable income can do to help: offer some financial support to help cover UIDN’s ongoing expenses. You can do so online at https://ulsterimmigrantdefensenetwork.org/get-involved/donate. Or enjoy great live performances in the process, by attending “Because We All Belong,” an afternoon of music, dance and storytelling to be held this Saturday, November 23 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at the Rosendale Theatre to benefit UIDN.
The event will feature the dance and music troupe the Vanaver Caravan, singer/activist Amy Fradon, singer/songwriter Tai Burnette, singer/songwriter/ guitarist John DeRosalia and storyteller/poet/playwright/musician David Gonzalez. Tickets range in price from $20 to $30 and will be available at the box office at 3:30 p.m. on the day of the event by cash or check. Contributions to UIDN are tax-deductible when made by check through UIDN’s fiscal sponsor, Holy Cross/Santa Cruz Episcopal Church, with UIDN in the memo.
Because We All Belong UIDN benefit concert, Saturday, Nov. 23, 4-5:30 p.m., $20-$30, Rosendale Theatre, 408 Main St. (Rt. 213), Rosendale, https://ulsterimmigrantdefensenetwork.org