“The idea of churches acting as a sanctuary or place of refuge for those in need has been around for a very long time,” she said. “Many churches began offering sanctuary to the undocumented in the 1980s and we’ve seen another resurgence since 2014.”
While Gallardo and other Faith in the Valley organizers acknowledge there is some risk involved for churches offering sanctuary to the undocumented, the odds have historically been in the congregation’s favor. Over the last 40 years, no church has been prosecuted for offering sanctuary to the undocumented, Gallardo said.
Messages promoting better access to health care, educational opportunities and minority representation among local government bodies also made an appearance but the key issue for many leaders was an end to the criminalization and incarceration of minority communities.
FRESNO– Community leaders, residents and state officials met Thursday night in West Fresno at Westside Church of God to talk about Proposition 47 and the flaws in the criminal justice system in Fresno County and across California.
Before I was even born, someone decided that my life did not matter. As it turns out, [California’s] infamous three strikes law actually originated in Fresno after some very serious crimes occurred in the area. But after it passed, people of color were mostly targeted. This is not fair, because Black lives do matter.