“I would not be the person I am today without East Bay Sanctuary Covenant. I’m giving back to my community what EBSC gave me.”
– Manuel De Paz, EBSC’s Director of Community Development and Education
EBSC was formed in 1982 when people of conscience publicly declared their commitment to provide Sanctuary for people like Manuel who were fleeing violence and persecution. Manuel was thirteen when he witnessed family members being tortured and killed by the army in El Salvador. He fled his village and made his way to the U.S., where EBSC helped him obtain Temporary Protected Status (TPS), political asylum, and finally, citizenship. For the past eleven years at EBSC, he has supported thousands of refugees, helping them to connect with resources, build confidence and skills, and share their stories with the broader community.
Manuel represents countless individuals whose lives are being transformed and who are then passing it on to others – thanks to YOUR help.
As attacks on immigration and human rights confront us almost daily, I am reminded of the meaning of Sanctuary: to provide a place of refuge or safety in times of trouble. When I ask our clients, “How do you feel when you win asylum?” they often answer: “I don’t have to fear any more. Now I am someone.” It’s those “somebodies” who are doing so much for our communities, and for whom we must keep fighting.
From our roots established 35 years ago and with the support of immigration advocates like you, EBSC has grown into one of the most effective organizations providing protection, advocacy, and support to thousands of refugees and immigrants every year.
As you know, the undocumented community faces increasing threats. People are scared and we need your support now more than ever to help families to not be torn apart. Once again, we are called to do whatever we can to resist attacks and renew our commitment to provide safe haven and a path to integration.
The clients we serve – DREAMers, unaccompanied minors, indigenous Guatemalans, survivors of gender-based abuse, and other undocumented individuals -- are strong and determined to improve their lives. But, they need our help. And we need yours.
So I’m asking you to renew your support of East Bay Sanctuary Covenant for 2018 – and help us be the strongest possible partners to the families counting on us in the coming year.
None of this work would be possible without you, and we are deeply grateful for your dedication to the values of Sanctuary. This is a pivotal moment for us and your year-end gift is especially important. As we grow the roots of Sanctuary in 2018, we have three main commitments:
- We will strengthen our core services by continuing to provide free or low-fee legal assistance and empowerment for the most marginalized, including indigenous, LGBTQ, and survivors of gender-based violence.
- We will partner with you and other allies to expand the Sanctuary Movement, promote justice, and advocate for compassionate immigration policies.
- Finally, after a wonderful 35 years in the basement of Trinity United Methodist Church in Berkeley, we are launching a search for a new home. There’s a great challenge ahead of us: We need funds to pay for a potentially huge increase in rent, from $250 per month to an estimated cost of $10,000 per month or more. Please contact me if you have ideas for housing or if you would like to be involved in this process.
Individual donors like you are at the heart of EBSC. Please consider matching or increasing your donation to EBSC this year. Your generosity will help us strengthen our roots, find a new home, and ensure that we serve as many people as possible.
Peace and blessings on your lives during this holiday season!
With gratitude and hope,
Sister Maureen Duignan and the EBSC Staff and Board