Dozens of religious congregations and other groups will announce the formation of the NH Immigrant Solidarity Network, a community of people dedicated to supporting immigrants threatened with deportation, at a ceremony on Sunday, October 29, from 5 to 7 pm at Saint Augustin Church, 383 Beech Street, in Manchester.
The ceremony will include a twilight march to the Norris Cotton Federal Building, 275 Chestnut Street, where the local office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement is housed.
“The urgency of this moment of our nation’s history calls us, compels us, to stand against the unconscionable acts of deportation by Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) and the immoral expressions of racism that are currently tearing families apart and seeking to fragment and divide us as a nation,” said Carol Backus, a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Manchester and President of the Granite State Organizing Project (GSOP).
Members of the network have pledged to “to respond to the fear and anxiety in our community as a result of an increase in immigration enforcement, heightened law enforcement and random acts of hate” with actions including,
• Physical and spiritual accompaniment of immigrants who have to report to ICE;
• Support for people who are detained and for their families;
• Sanctuary in houses of worship for people fearing deportation; and
• Rapid response to ICE raids and to acts of violence rooted in racism and xenophobia.
The gathering Sunday will include prayer, singing, presentations from several community members, a procession to the federal building and back to the church, and a reading of the solidarity statement.
The Network was convened by the GSOP six months ago to unify people statewide in support of immigrants. Many members of the network have also participated in interfaith prayer vigils outside the Norris Cotton Federal Building.