Join AKIN and Bridge Refugee Services Wednesday, February 1 at 12:30 pm in Market Square as we support our immigrant, refugee, and Muslim brothers and sisters.
The vigil will begin at 12:30 pm on Market Square in Downtown Knoxville. We will observe silence until 1pm followed by a walk to the City County building where we will deliver a letter voicing our support for immigrants, refugees, and Muslims to the offices of Senator Bob Corker, Senator Lamar Alexander, and Representative John Duncan, Jr.
We are encouraging people to wear red, white, and/or blue.
Please bring signs showing your support for immigrants and refugees!
Our January meeting will be this Wednesday, January 18, sandwiched between inspiration and threat: Martin Luther King’s memorial on Monday, and Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday. We intend to call upon Monday’s inspiration to prepare for the unprecedented threat that Friday ushers in.
We are sure many of you are feeling as stunned and worried as we are about the election results and about what is in store for everyone in our country — most especially for immigrants and refugees.
Please know that AKIN is already working with others in the immigrants’ rights movement and with allied groups to make sense of what is happening and to plan for ways to push back against the dangerous dynamics now in play. For instance, the weekend after the election several members of AKIN, together with several members of the Comité Popular de Knoxville, traveled to Black Mountain, NC to attend a conference of grassroots immigrants’ rights groups from across the Southeast. Further, organizers from the Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRCC) visited Knoxville around that same time, and among other things they met with a number of young DREAMers close to AKIN and the Comité Popular. Their discussion included the future of DACA and a plan for coming back to the General Assembly in the spring with a new bill aimed at achieving better access to higher education for immigrant youth.
AKIN held its Annual Meeting on July 8, 2016, and it was a successful evening that boosted our spirits.
In planning for the event, we assumed it would be a small affair. After all, on June 23 we had mounted a major push, strongly urging all members and supporters to turn out for actions called by Knoxville’s immigrant-led grassroots group, the Comité Popular.
June 23 was a watershed — and severely disappointing — moment for the immigrant community, because it was the day the US Supreme Court announced its split decision in the case of United States v. Texas. That result allowed a provisional injunction against Obama’s 2014 “deferred action” programs to stand, thereby postponing a final decision until after the President will have left office, and leaving in limbo hundreds of thousands of people across the country who had hoped for temporary relief under that program. (Click here to read AKIN’s statement on the ruling.)
So our expectations for turn-out were low, but in fact we garnered quite a respectable showing from both immigrant and non-immigrant communities, despite a lightning-laced storm that hit Knoxville that evening.
On June 23, 2016, the Supreme Court released its ruling on US v. Texas, a 4-4 split decision that results in a continued injunction against DAPA and expanded DACA. (To read AKIN’s official statement on the ruling, click here.)
In response, members and allies of the Comité Popular and AKIN marched in downtown Knoxville to express our disappointment over this outcome.
Over the course of the spring 2016 session of the General Assembly, in anticipation of a vote on Tuition Equality in the Tennessee House, AKIN convened a working group of people of faith to try to make sure that area representatives heard from faith leaders supportive of Tuition Equality. Eventually two letters were circulated within local faith circles. The texts were similar, with one speaking from a Christian perspective and the other from an interfaith perspective. Together the letters were signed by ninety faith leaders from Knoxville and surrounding communities, from a range of different denominations and faith traditions, people who live and worship in many legislative districts across our area. The letters were sent to over a dozen members of the Tennessee House.
Following is the text of a letter AKIN sent to the Department of Homeland Security raising concerns over Sheriff Jones’ request for 287(g) delegation of immigration authority.
Dear Secretary Napolitano and Director Morton:
Fifteen months ago, allies of immigrants, advocacy groups, and faith based organizations in Knox County accidentally found out that secret negotiations were ocurring between Knox County Sheriff J.J. Jones and officials from ICE regarding implementing a 287(g) MOA in Knox County, TN.