This week, as a community, we will prepare for a response to a second Muslim ban in the USA, and proposed cuts to the State Department and USAID. We’ll also demand the release of Dany Vargas, and hold discussions in our PAGE groups about longer-term projects.
1. Prepare for the second Muslim Ban. (PRIORITY: Please do this!) This week, we expect the Trump administration to sign a second executive order aimed at restricting immigration from Muslim-majority countries. This time, we would like to coordinate deeper engagement and outreach with Muslim communities around the world, to provide support, build relationships, and identify what resources are needed.
First, if you are a PAGE member affected by the ban, please know that we want to show up for you and support you however you can. Please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to share ideas of how we can respond and act as a group.
Here are some steps that your group can take to prepare for the second ban:
In your PAGE group, identify local Muslim community centers, houses of worship, or community leaders (may be an Imam, or other people who lead local associations). Do some research about their role in the community and how to reach out to them.
Remember that not everyone affected by the ban is Muslim AND that not all Muslims are observant and attend a mosque or masjid. There may be a community center, cultural or advocacy organization, university club, or school in your area that includes a diverse range of people affected by the ban, outside of a religious center. There may also be legal services organizations that are actively working on the cases of immigrants and refugees affected by the ban (like the International Refugee Assistance Project).
In your PAGE group, discuss what you could say in a meeting or letter to the mosque/center/group. Some ideas include:
Express your strong opposition to the ban. Express your solidarity with the Muslim, Arab, or other communities in your country of residence who are impacted by the ban, and the Muslim community around the world.
Ask what their greatest concerns are for their community at this time
Commit to acting in solidarity with them. Ask leaders how you can support their community. If they’re unsure, you could propose some ideas (such as: writing a letter to a local newspaper about your experience in your country of residence, speaking to relatives who support the ban, supporting local or global Muslim organizations). Make sure to follow the lead of the local leaders or communities. And make sure to follow through if you promise to do something!
Remember: it’s important that you don’t:
Use language that implies that all Muslims (or people of any group) are the same
Use language that defines Muslims (or other groups) around problematic stereotypes (making statements like, “we know that you aren’t all XYZ”)
Promise things that you can’t or won’t deliver while meeting with leaders
Need some further inspiration? Check out this letter which Muslims leaders wrote to the Jewish community after bomb threats in the Twin Cities, or check out this blog post at Americans Resisting Overseas.
After you have discussed in your PAGE group, don’t reach out to the local group quite yet (though if your group wants to write a letter, you can start working on that). We will send out a PAGE action alert when the second ban comes down, so we can take coordinated action at once. We may also have a social media component in our response.
Let us know if you have feedback or further ideas for how PAGE can respond to another ban - email at email@example.com
2. Share ideas for responding to proposed cuts to State Department/USAID This week, we heard that President Trump will propose 37% budget cuts to the State Department and USAID. Don’t panic -- there is already quite a bit of bi-partisan opposition to these proposed cuts. Budget negotiations will take some time, and the PAGE Global Coordinating Committee is currently crafting our response to this.
As we do this, it would be super helpful to get feedback from around the world. Please discuss the following questions in your group, and write to firstname.lastname@example.org with responses:
Has news about the proposed cuts made it to your country of residence? How are people in your country of residence concerned or not concerned with these proposed cuts? Have people asked you to take any action, and if so what?
What are your personal concerns about the cuts? How do you think they will impact your country of residence? How will they impact you personally?
What are your ideas for how the PAGE global network can respond? Some ideas are listed below- would you be willing to participate in them?
A social media campaign showing the impacts of aid/diplomacy around the world
Targeted lobbying to senators/representatives likely to be influential on this issue. For instance, we could make YouTube videos of us lobbying from our country of residence.
3. Demand the release of Dany Vargas.
Reprinted from United We Dream:
ICE agents detained 22 year old Dany Vargas just hours after she courageously spoke about her fear of deportation at a press conference. She was afraid because two weeks ago, ICE officers raided her home and detained both her brother and father while she hid, terrified, in her closet for four hours.
Dany came to the U.S. when she was 7 years old and was a beneficiary of the DACA program. She is a manager at a small store and dreams of becoming a math teacher.
Like many beneficiaries of the DACA program, paying the nearly $500 in fees every two years was hard and her DACA status expired. However, she saved up, got the money together and her renewal application is now in the approval process.
But because of this technicality, ICE tracked her down, and put her into the deportation pipeline.
What you can do:
Sign United We Dream’s petition to #FreeDany.
Read more about DACA, and the experiences of a DACA recipient, here.
Donate to United We Dream, a youth-led immigration rights organization, here.
4. Discuss some ideas for longer-term projects within your group. Maybe your PAGE group has been meeting for a while now and doing the weekly actions together, and you’re ready to dig a little deeper into issues which are particularly important for your country of residence. Great! Here are some discussion questions to get you starting thinking about doing so.
Here are PAGE’s 4 priority areas. Discuss: which one is most important and relevant for your country of residence? We recommend that smaller groups choose one area, while bigger groups might choose 2-3.
Global Corporation Watch: Around the world, PAGE can monitor global businesses and organize actions that folks in the USA cannot. For instance, we can support and organize boycotts of Trump’s businesses abroad, and organize against banks funding problematic and unjust projects in the USA, such as global banks supporting DAPL.
Climate Change: Many of us live in areas most impacted by climate change. We are well positioned to collaborate with local activists working on climate change, and share stories of life on the front lines of climate change with constituents in the USA.
Refugee Crisis and Immigration: Many of us live in areas impacted by refugee crises. As our nation closes its doors, we can work from where we are to support refugees in our countries of residences.
Foreign Policy and Aid: We are well-positioned to develop deep understandings of how US foreign policy impacts people around the world. We can monitor how legislation impacts the countries where we live, and take action to promote global peace and understanding.
Choose your action: Once you have picked an area of focus:
Do some research about which local organizations are working on these issues already. Set up a meeting to learn more about their work, and what you can do to contribute.
Once you have an idea of what local work is already happening in this area, discuss what you as a PAGE group can do to work on this issue. Ideally, you can coordinate with local efforts to increase your impact!
Some ideas include: organizing fundraiser, holding events/talks related to the issue, organizing a boycott, writing an article in your local home newspaper about this issue.
You can also help the PAGE global coordinating committee write action alerts relating to your issue.
Delegate and organize. Figure out the timeline for your selected project, and divide up responsibilities in your group for making it happen.
Let us know what you’re up to at: email@example.com. We can also connect you with other groups around the world working on your same issue area.
Thank you for engaging with PAGE!