The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee advances human rights through grassroots collaborations.
February 3, 2017, Rights Reading
February 3, 2017
Our weekly roundup of what we’re reading includes a few select articles from the front lines of human rights that we don’t want you to miss. The theme of this week’s Rights Reading is: Resistance! We’re showcasing different ways communities are resisting across the United States.
“Starting this week, restaurants across the country—from small-town delis to fancier eateries—have signed on to become “sanctuary restaurants,” something they hope will send a clear message to their employees, communities, and Washington that hardline policies won’t be received well.”
In a previous Rights Reading, we highlighted the launch of the “Sanctuary Restaurant” movement that was started by our partner, ROC United. With Latinos and Hispanics making up a quarter of restaurant workers in the United States, restaurant owners have been quick to sign on to the new sanctuary restaurant movement, and the movement is growing rapidly. Restaurant workers are facing increasing harassment and discrimination and the decision to become a sanctuary restaurant has become a “no brainer” for many business owners.
Sanctuary restaurants declare themselves hate-free and have a zero tolerance for discrimination. These restaurants have also agreed to give trainings on general rights and what to do if immigration officials come on site. They are also considering non-cooperation with police and other federal authorities, much like other sanctuary movements.
“…long-term change never comes with submission, resignation, or despair about the inevitability and intractability of the status quo.”
The United States has a rich history of civil resistance, and today, more than ever, Americans are positioned to resist in greater ways. History shows that it only takes 3.5% of a population to overthrow a dictatorship. Further, “when campaigns are able to prepare, train, and remain resilient, they often succeed regardless of whether the government uses violence against them.”
From labor markets, to supporting farm-workers, and most recently, resisting the Dakota Access Pipeline, civil resistance has brought down systems of inequality, educated masses, and empowered minority communities. In fact, history has shown that non-violence resistance is more effective, safer, and less costly than armed resistance.
While there have been some ineffective resistance movements, this article highlights the characteristics of successful civil resistance movements. Patience, understanding the political dynamics that affect the issue(s), having a committed and diverse core of supporters, and building and leveraging connections, are some of the key traits that have led to successful civil resistance.
In the last two weeks, the United States has seen numerous examples of groups rising up and resisting new policies set forth by the Trump administration. Boycotting votes for Trump nominees, the Women’s March, and resisting the refugee ban are all forms of resistance that can defy these inhumane and discriminatory policies. We can do this!
“San Francisco is safer when all people, including undocumented immigrants, feel safe reporting crimes. San Francisco is healthier when all residents, including undocumented immigrants, access public health programs. And San Francisco is economically and socially stronger when all children, including undocumented immigrants, attend school.”
San Francisco has become the first city to sue the Trump administration’s executive order on defunding sanctuary cities. Forcing local and state laws to carry out federal law, under any circumstances, is unconstitutional and is the basis for this case. While many cities and towns have also resisted, declaring themselves as sanctuary or recommitting their cities and towns to be sanctuary, San Francisco is the first city to file a lawsuit. UUSC applauds the city in taking this action and is excited to see others follow suit.
To read more about the executive order and its proposed effects on sanctuary cities, check out the first of our blog series, What Trump’s Executive Orders Really Means.