Immigration campaign launches Thursday in Carbondale webcast | PostIndependent.com

Immigration campaign launches Thursday in Carbondale webcast

Carla Jean Whitley
cj@postindependent.com

Sandra Lopez and three other Colorado women in sanctuary will launch a campaign for their freedom tonight. The women will join the meeting from their sanctuary places via Skype. They'll share their stories as well as action steps interested parties can take to support immigration law changes.

"We hope this is going to help many people who could be in our similar situation in sanctuary, and that it will make history in Colorado," Lopez said via a translator.

The local event is scheduled for 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Carbondale's Third Street Center. Simultaneous gatherings are scheduled in Denver and Boulder. They'll explain the campaign, Create a Path, its importance and how the public can become involved.

"Folks are aware that there are other people besides Sandra in sanctuary," said Sophia Clark, Rocky Mountain Region Organizer for Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition. "But Sandra was really excited about folks being able to actually see and hear from those other women personally and connect with them."

The campaign will require support of elected officials, faith leaders and the community at large to succeed, Lopez said. While these four women are currently in sanctuary to avoid deportation, thousands of other Colorado immigrants share similar stories. Addressing these women's needs would create a path forward for other immigrants, as well, Clark said during a Tuesday night immigration panel discussion.

Last fall, Lopez entered sanctuary at a Carbondale parsonage owned by Two Rivers Unitarian Universalist. She was arrested in 2010 after one of her children mistakenly dialed 911. Though the charges were dropped, the arresting officer reported Lopez to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. She ultimately received a stay of removal, which is a temporary fix. She had to check in with ICE annually, and just before her October appointment, Lopez learned her stay of removal had been revoked. She entered sanctuary shortly thereafter.

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Each of the Colorado women in sanctuary has a different story, which they'll share during the meeting.

"It's really amazing. We've been able to work together a lot over this distance, and now the community is going to see that and learn about this strategy that we're presenting," Lopez said.

A coalition of Colorado organizations will also travel to Denver for Latino/a Advocacy Day Monday. Volunteers will gather for trainings in Denver Sunday. Monday will include a rally at the capitol from 12:30-1:30 p.m., followed by legislative visits from 1-3 p.m. The coalition includes Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights, Colorado Latino Leadership, Advocacy & Research Organization, Mi Familia Vota Education Fund and Conservation Colorado Protégete. Learn more here.

Details

Free the women in sanctuary

Thursday, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Sandra Lopez, who is in sanctuary in Carbondale, and three other Colorado women will speak about their experiences and a path forward.

Third Street Center round room, 520 S. Third St., Carbondale