Posted on: December 5, 2016
On November 9, we woke up in a new world - one where a man who spent months publicly attacking immigrants was suddenly in the highest position of power. We were afraid, confused, sad. How could this be true? That morning alone there were 40 families with fear in their eyes outside of the Chelsea Collaborative before we even opened.
Should we send our kids to school?
Is it OK for me to go to work?
Will our landlord evict us?
Are we safe?
Since that morning, the Chelsea Collaborative has worked nonstop to answer these questions and so many more to the best of our ability. The number of community members with DACA, TPS, or undocumented statuses coming through our doors since November 8 has gone up exponentially and we are here for each and every one of them. We have already implemented emergency expansions of our citizenship program and legal services to support more people with the naturalization process.
Now, when so many of us are afraid for our futures, please don't give up hope. It will not be easy, but together we can work to keep our community safe, thriving, and moving forward. Here's what we can start doing today to strengthen and protect our community as we prepare for the future:
Do not be afraid
We must abandon the fear and build a shared commitment to be even stronger in our work together. What lies ahead is uncertain but we know there will be difficult times for immigrants in this country. Our only hope is to organize and remain united in our work to build tolerance, acceptance, and equal rights for all members of our community. Chelsea is a sanctuary city, which means our local schools and law enforcement have vowed to play no role in any actions related to mass deportations of immigrants in Chelsea. We must work together to keep Chelsea a refuge for anyone coming to our city to live prosperous and productive lives and to contribute to the vibrancy of our great city.
Know your rights
It is important for everyone to understand you do have rights when confronted or questioned by police or other officials. You have the right to remain silent, to request to speak to a lawyer, and to make a phone call if arrested. If the police or immigration come to your door, they must have a warrant and you have the right to not open the door until you see the warrant with your name on it. Read more about your rights here.
Take care of each other
At the Chelsea Collaborative, we are prepared to defend anyone who is feeling threatened by anti-immigrant beliefs or actions. We hope you will join us and use your power and your voice to expose bigotry and threatening speech or behavior that you see. We must vigorously oppose any threats to our community stemming from racism, bigotry and anti-immigrant beliefs. Our children are watching and learning from how we handle these difficult situations. We must stick together, work together, and bring peace among each other. If you see one of your neighbors being threatened or harassed, speak up for them. If you see someone hurting, reach out and ask if you can help. Attorney General Maura Healy has set up a hotline that allows people to report incidents of vandalism, harassment, and intimidation directed at racial, ethnic, and religious minorities. If you feel your rights have been violated, call 1-800-994-3228 or file a civil rights complaint online.
Join us on December 19 at 5:30 pm at Chelsea High School for a planning meeting directly in response to the election, with a focus on how a Trump presidency could directly impact immigrants in Chelsea. For this meeting, we will focus specifically on those with Temporary Protected Status (TPS
) and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA
). Local city officials and Legal Advocates from the Chelsea Collaborative will join us to answer the many questions our community has and help us plan for the future. We will also strategize how to continue to resist oppression, respond to discrimination, highlight the voices of immigrants in Chelsea, and prepare for worst-case scenarios, such as immigration raids in Chelsea. It is more important now than ever that we all get involved in the struggle against discrimination and deportation and support immigrants seeking dignity and justice. Sign up for our newsletter to receive updates on future events and actions.
Support the Chelsea Collaborative
Since our founding in 1988, the Chelsea Collaborative has been a hub for our city's immigrant community to access services, build skills, and organize for equal rights and justice. We are a trusted partner to thousands of Chelsea residents and are gearing up to respond to the ever-growing needs of our community - particularly under a Donald Trump presidency. If you stand with the immigrant community and against racist and bigoted sentiments, please consider donating to the Chelsea Collaborative.