The “Freedom Cities” concept builds on “sanctuary city” policies, under which local governments order their agencies to refuse direct cooperation with federal immigration enforcement. As New York’s adherence to broken windows–style policing illustrates, however, the promise of “sanctuary” might amount to little more than a well-intentioned gesture as long as aggressive, racially polarizing police practices remain in place. In light of the escalation of federal crackdowns even in supposedly “immigrant-friendly” cities, the Freedom Cities campaign seeks more than a mandate of non-cooperation with federal authorities. It aims to build a more just, inclusive society from the neighborhood level up, through mutual aid, community protection, and long-term cultural change.
Basma Eid, a trainer with Enlace, a partner of the Worker Center Federation, says the inspiration for the campaign emerged from “workers themselves, who had been meeting regularly, building their leadership . . . they were the ones who were like, ‘This is the vision that we have.’” Worker centers, she says, offer a platform for members to air “really strong and important voices that are often being left out of the conversation around resistance,” since grassroots labor struggles tend to get sidelined in public discussions about Trump’s assaults on civil rights.
A churro vendor, community activist, and fixture in Corona Queens, Claudia Lopez spent her life fighting for justice and respect for immigrant vendors. She sold for more than ten years without a permit and was a leader in the ongoing campaign to #LiftTheCaps on food vending permits, which have been frozen since 1983.
Tuesday, February 21 at 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Junction Blvd, Corona
She died of cancer on February 21, 2016, still waiting for a permit. Now, one year later, we will remember Claudia and other vendors who have died waiting for permits, due to the city’s lack of action.
Many others are still waiting. Before another month or year goes by, we will call upon the City Council and Mayor to hold a vote on the Street Vendor Modernization Act. This bill will gradually double the number of vending permits available, creating an opportunity for thousands of vendors like Claudia to legalize their small businesses and work in peace.
The Trump administration has continuously attacked immigrant communities. This past week there have been hundreds of arrests by ICE, spreading fear and panic throughout our communities all over the country. Most recently, Daniel Ramirez Medina was taken into custody despite being a DACA recipient. This Thursday at 5pm, we rally in front of the Department of Homeland Security Building to demand that ICE#FreeDaniel and stop #ICERaids operations and arrests that are targeting everyone and tearing families falling apart
When: Thursday, February 16th, 2017 at 5 PM
Where: U.S. Department of Homeland Security (Varick Street Federal Building)
201 Varick Street, New York, NY 10014