Every month, we highlight a grantee that we funded recently through our Equity Grants Program, which advances racial and economic inclusion in the Bay Area.
This spring, a volunteer from Faith in Action (FIA), a TSFF grantee, spotted immigration agents waiting in the parking lot of her Redwood City apartment building. The volunteer had attended FIA’s recent “know your rights” immigrant trainings and had previously distributed information cards to other tenants in her building. Armed with the knowledge that they did not need to open their doors without a warrant, neighbors stayed in their homes despite the agents’ knocks on their doors. The volunteer called FIA’s rapid response hotline to report the presence of the immigration agents. Within 15 minutes, five rapid response allies arrived, made sure that the agents had left, and that families were safe to begin escorting their children to school.
As federal policy continues to clamp down on immigrant rights, FIA has doubled down on its support for immigrants. In the past year, FIA trained 1,500 people on how to respond to immigration raids, 700 allies on how to support immigrants during this time, including accompanying them to hearings, and delivered “know your rights” and family preparedness trainings to more than 35,000 immigrant residents of the Bay Area.
In San Mateo County, where rent has soared to astronomical levels, FIA is also working to prevent displacement of low- and middle-income families. In August 2017, FIA organized the tenants of a San Mateo apartment building after the landlord had increased the rent for a small, two-bedroom apartment to $3,200, despite an infestation of rats, insects and mold. Ultimately, the city intervened and allowed the tenants to remain in their home during and after the landlord renovated and cleaned the unit.
“The ways people are working to support each other in these communities is beautiful,” says Adriana Guzman, an FIA organizer. “It’s what Faith in Action is about.”