Advocacy seeks to heal and transform society through long-lasting changes. Two recent advocacy actions in California and San Diego seek to improves the lives of asylum seekers.
Last month, the Episcopal Public Policy Network (EPPN) of California issued a statement calling for the compassionate care of asylum seekers and other refugees in our state. This statement was co-signed by all the Episcopal bishops of California. Recognizing that San Diego is the first place where many asylum seekers go before moving on to sponsors, the EPPN of CA urged people to support the asylum seeker relief efforts here in San Diego. The San Diego branch of the EPPN is open to Episcopalians in San Diego who wish to transform lives through advocacy. If you are interested in joining, please email the Rev. Janine Schenone at email@example.com.
In October, when ICE and Border Patrol began releasing legally admitted asylum seekers into downtown San Diego, faith-based community partners who are part of the San Diego Rapid Response Network created an emergency shelter with little resources and space. Since then, the shelter has grown—and moved four times. The EPPN of CA urged Episcopalians from around the state to support the partners who are running these shelters. This organization is focusing on three main advocacy issues in California this year: immigration, homelessness, and climate change.
One of these partners, Good Samaritan Episcopal Church in University City, agreed to be the central drop-off place for donations of clothing and food. It sponsors a weekly sorting party to go through 40 to 50 bags of donations, and then distributes some to the asylum seekers shelter and some to other community partners such as Episcopal Community Services (ECS) and Community Christian Service Agency. In addition, cash donations given to Good Samaritan for refugee relief are used for travel cash as well as emergency clothing purchases. If you are interested in donating or helping with the sorting of donations, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another major advocacy success occurred on January 8 at the County Board of Supervisors meeting. The Rev. Janine Schenone and other community partners spoke in support of a proposal to open a temporary shelter for asylum seekers. The proposal passed, and community partners hope that the county will open a shelter before the current church-based shelter has to move again in early February.
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