June 21, 2018
The Sound Alliance Immigrant Rights Action Team only set up 40 chairs at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church in Federal Way on June 21, 2018.
Then 60 people piled into the room, filling it to capacity to hear Jay Stansell, J.D. present a workshop entitled “Reclaiming the Constitution. Knowing, Defending, and Using Your Rights in the Face of Injustice.”
For two hours participants asked questions and received training on topics such as: who is at risk of deportation, constitutional rights that everyone has when questioned by enforcement agencies, and preparing and building confidence to exercise those rights to protect friends or family.
Some important learnings included:
- Using the right to remain silent (even refusing to answer the question “Where are you from?”), which could be the crucial difference between entering the deportation system or not.
- You have the right to refuse searching and entering private property, unless there is a judicial warrant signed by a judge – NOT an ICE administrative warrant.
- We all have the right to an attorney
While there have been a lot of Know Your Rights trainings, especially for immigrants themselves, the Immigrant Rights team discovered a need for trainings in English that could educate allies. Kailey Harem, Federal Way Education Association, sparked the idea when she expressed the desire to be trained to better support her undocumented students.
Others who attended the training expressed similar desires, suggesting that there are communities who want this type of training and who are not being reached.
Next steps for the Immigrant Rights Action team are to discover which communities want to be trained and providing those trainings for them, or setting up a Train the Trainer so people can educate their own communities.
In addition, the team wants to “go public”, perhaps getting institutional leaders such as school boards or heads of medical clinics to commit to integrating basic Constitutional Rights training into their cultures.
The team is always looking for more leaders. Contact Roberta Ray, University Unitarian Church, to get involved.