CMSURJ Know Your Rights Working Group!

Central Maine Showing up for Racial Justice has started a new Know Your Rights working group which is focusing on getting Know Your Rights education in our community.

We started this group because through our multi-racial organizing we have been asked to do this work so people can be informed and safe. This ask came out of the Lewiston United for Peace and Hope work that started last summer after the death of Donald Gusti, and from our work with community members following Lewiston PD calling ICE after they were called to respond to an altercation at the Grayhound station that involved someone who is an immigrant. Although these two events were two of the main factors that led us to Know Your Rights work, we also have seen and heard of many times before and after these events where the police acted out of line or people needed to know about their rights but didn't in the moment. We've also been noticing ICE around town more, particularly at bus stations, so it seems like an important time to get this information out.

Our Know Your Rights working group is working to:

-Work with organizations that are immigrant run or have a large immigrant base and help organize larger Know Your Rights workshops with Immigrant Legal Access Project (ILAP).

-Do peer-to-peer Know Your Rights presentations from block to block and at outside gathering spaces in Lewiston.

-Distribute materials such as zines, posters, wallet sized cards, etc. that people can read and display that will help them learn and remember their rights. We also will distribute resources that talk about the history of the police and ICE, and alternatives to calling the police.

-Create social media resources for people to learn their rights, including videos for people who learn better though audio/visual and/or can't read.

-Educate american born people about refugees and asylum seekers. Help people understand that these people are going through the system and they are not undocumented. Also do education work around undocumented people, their struggle, and how no one is illegal.

-Engage in mutual aid and distribute food, water, and other essential needs while also teaching people about their rights.

-Print a wall calendar which has Know Your Rights information.

-Create a way for people to report abuses from the police, and ICE sightings.

This working group is multi-racial and includes both SURJ members and people of color in the community.

We are fundraising money so we can:

-Give people stipends for learning Know Your Rights information and going out into the community to do peer-to-peer Know Your Rights trainings.

-Printing and purchasing of informational/educational materials.

-Buying mutual aid supplies.

-Printing a wall calendar.

-Paying immigrant film makers to produce Know Your Rights videos.

-Paying translators.

-Purchasing a pay as you go phone.

It's possible we'll need more than $2,000 to accomplish all these goals, so if we've reached our goal and you'd still like to donate, please do!

Thank you so much for your support!!!


Christine Segreti
Lewiston, ME

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