We are in the Days of Awe. In this moment, our tradition asks us for individual and collective reflection: Are we living our values? Does our community reflect the world we want to see?
As the organizer supporting JCUA’s Immigration Justice work, I know that many of us are feeling called to action by the needs of the more than 14,000 asylum seekers in Chicago. As more arrive every month in search of safety, our city faces a choice about what kind of community we want to be.
I believe in a Chicago that embraces new arrivals, where everyone’s needs are met and we care for each other. If you do too, I invite you to do *one thing* this month to welcome our new neighbors.
Mutual aid networks across the city have been stepping up to facilitate support. If you have financial resources, supplies, or time to drop off meals, sort through donations, do loads of laundry, or check in on new arrivals in police stations, here are a few places to plug in:
- OCAD Mutual Aid Fund – Direct cash assistance to recently arrived immigrant families staying in police stations and shelters across the city.
- Rapid Response Amazon Wishlist – This wish list set up by the City of Chicago and Instituto del Progreso Latino is regularly updated to meet the needs of new arrivals in shelters across the city.
- Edgewater Mutual Aid Network – Mutual aid fund supporting asylum seekers and other vulnerable community members in Edgewater.
- 19th District Mutual Aid – Volunteers coordinating meal delivery, supply donations, volunteers for shower shifts at St. Mary’s, and fundraising for asylum seekers at the 19th police precinct in Lakeview.
- Community Care Collective – Mutual aid network accepting donations, supplies, and volunteers to support asylum seekers at the 17th police precinct in Albany Park.
- 20th Station Aid – Coordinating volunteers to bring meals and do laundry for asylum seekers at the 20th police precinct in Ravenswood.
- El Arbol Generoso – Mutual aid network coordinating meal delivery drivers and supporting asylum seekers at the 14th police precinct in Logan Square.
- Unity Center – Looking for people to wash towels and take volunteer shifts at their shower facility for asylum seekers in Bridgeport.
- Chicago Police Station Response Team – Volunteers coordinating meals and donations to support asylum seekers in Hyde Park.
- Chi-Care – Nonprofit that delivers meals to people experiencing homelessness throughout Chicagoland. Currently giving mutual aid networks funding for restaurants to provide meals to police stations across the city.
You can also visit the city’s New Arrival Dashboard for updates and information.
If you’re ready to fight for the long-term vision and policies required to welcome people with dignity, join the next JCUA Immigration Justice Committee meeting on Thursday, September 28th, or register for JCUA’s virtual Organizing Basics training on Tuesday, October 10th.
The challenge of welcoming new arrivals has exposed Chicago’s homelessness crisis and the injustices that have existed for far too long. Our response to this moment must resist all attempts to divide the most disinvested, marginalized communities against each other; the city has enough resources to sustain everyone.
As new neighbors continue arriving, we have to be ready to stay in this work for the long haul. Transformation doesn’t happen overnight, which is why the Jewish calendar gives us this time for preparation.
Let’s each commit to living out our values. You can start now, with one small act.