What Does It Mean to Be a ‘Sanctuary City’?
Interfaith Tampa Bay is hosting a discussion on so-called Sanctuary Cities and what the concept means for local communities.
ST. PETERSBURG – Sanctuary is an ancient religious concept that has found powerful meaning in recent times and has become part of the political conversation – nationally and locally.
When Cain slew his brother Abel, the book of Genesis says cities were set aside as havens for killers to be protected from blood vengeance. Sanctuary was used with the Underground Railroad and then with draft dodgers through the Great Wars, including the Vietnam War, and in more recent times with immigration especially along the southwest border.
The current conversation around sanctuary cities involves the way local police cooperate or not with immigration and custom enforcement. ICE detainers are a way in which local police can act in cooperation with Homeland Security and perhaps earn a little extra money for their budgets. A sanctuary city now means that local police will focus on enforcing local rules in order to maintain and build community trust rather than operate as immigration officers for the federal government. When local police operate as immigration officers, the necessary conditions for good policing relations are dissolved, say organizers of a comunity conversation about sanctuary cities. The event is designed to examine the possibilities and difficulties of Tampa Bay local communities becoming sanctuary cities.
This panel discussion will feature Imam Azhar Subedar, Sepideh Eskandari (immigration attorney and member of the Baha’i community), the Rev. Bruce Wright (Refuge Ministries, My Place in Recovery) and more. The panel will be moderated by the Rev. Russell Meyer (Florida Council of Churches). The event is hosted by Interfaith Tampa Bay.
The event is scheduled for 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday (Feb. 12) at Trinity Lutheran Church, 401 Fifth St. N, St. Petersburg. The event is free and open to the public.
For information about Sanctuary Cities: A Community Conversation, go to facebook.com.
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