Carrying on the Work of Our Ancestors...Immigrant Justice at BWC Today

 

Last March, in the face of pandemic shutdowns, fear, and worldwide uncertainty, the BWC Immigrant Justice and Sanctuary Committee (IJS) sprang to action and quickly refocused their work. They had one goal in mind: To directly support those in our community who needed it most.
 
Like generations of BWC members before us, they're doing this work through wealth re-distribution and a strong network of community care. IJS, in partnership with the Boston Immigrant Justice and Accompaniment Network, has been providing micro-grants to aid our immigrant neighbors who are most affected by the pandemic and least likely to get government support.
 
IJS works in a buddy system. By pairing BWC members with asylum-seekers and folks recently released from ICE detention, IJS has created a loving community that ensures our neighbors stay warm and fed. So far, IJS has given out $44,150 to 56 individuals for a total of 109 critical grants.
 
"In a time when our immigrant neighbors have suffered terrible injustice and so often can't get vital Covid-19 relief due to their immigration status (and when whatever relief they ARE eligible for is molasses slow in coming), it's been incredibly powerful to be part of a network that provides emergency help, almost instantly, completely sidestepping bureaucracy, politics, and all the things that get in the way of responding as humans to other humans."
 
-Carrie Pollack, BWC member & IJS buddy

The funds raised through the GoFundMe campaign are given out on a rolling basis to individuals and families struggling to meet their basic needs. These funds have helped our neighbors:

 
  • Purchase their insulin.
  • Buy diapers for their children.
  • Pay their phone bills to speak to their loved ones in other countries.
  • Purchase food for their families.
  • Front money on their rent.
IJS buddies also help navigate housing applications, identify additional community resources, connect to legal advocacy and even apply for working papers creating an alternative system to the slow political machinations of government aid. 
 
Libby Shrobe, Co-Chair of IJS, explains: "Our work within IJS is to create alternative systems of community care for primarily Black and Brown immigrants outside of the prison-detention industrial system. At BWC, we are always working towards a world where our words and actions contribute to the downfall of white supremacy. And, in IJS, we also wanted to think about, 'What are we building in its place?'"
 
To support the ongoing need for grants and read the most recent updates about the campaign, please visit the Immigrant Justice and Sanctuary Committee's GoFundMe page or register here for an open info session about IJS's buddy system on Wednesday, March 3 at 6pm. If you have questions or can't make this info session, please contact Libby Shrobe, BWCImmigrantJustice@gmail.com. Together, we are creating a better world.