This note briefly recounts Culver City Action Network’s campaign leading to passage of a Culver City sanctuary resolution and collects some of the key resources used in the campaign, in case they may be useful to others.
On March 27, 2017, the Culver City Council voted 3-1 to adopt a strong “Sanctuary City” resolution. This marked the successful conclusion of a campaign that Culver City Action Network began in earnest in early February with this letter outlining our seven key demands and providing detailed reference materials and models to the City Council. From the beginning, we linked sanctuary for immigrants with issues of overpolicing, racial profiling, Islamophobia, and suppression of political protest. This effort built on our previous work to pass a strong schools-focused resolution through the Culver City School Board, which was much more receptive. That was followed by our hosting at local public schools two successful immigration Know Your Rights workshops generously provided by the National Immigration Law Center.
After we learned that the Council was unlikely to take up the sanctuary issue without further organizing, we packed a mid-February City Council meeting with visible supporters, spoke out during the public comment period, and got the Council to agree to put sanctuary on the agenda for a meeting six weeks later. In the interim, the Council also considered and approved 3-2 a resolution endorsing California SB 54, the “California Values Act” a/k/a Sanctuary State. The SB 54 endorsement had been promoted by Indivisible Culver City, with which we worked closely throughout.
To prepare for the March 27 meeting, we developed and circulate this detailed FAQ document explaining the campaign and responding to various Culver City-specific issues, as well as this one-page summary accompanied by an infographic (in English and Spanish). A supportive City Council member (Meghan Sahli-Wells) helped organize a community forum with the Police Department to explain current immigration-related practices and answer public questions. After that forum, we sent one follow-up letter to the Council and another to the local press. We organized a post-card writing party to express our support to the Council and publicized our effort with a booth and signs (1, 2, 3, 4 — thanks, Daniel!) along the Ciclavia route the weekend before the vote. We also used the Action Network platform to create an email letter campaign to the Council, as well as a facebook page and member email list. And we met with City Council members in small groups.
After the Council’s agenda with draft resolutions was announced, we wrote to the Council with our recommendations for an even stronger resolution. Those recommendations were endorsed by the ACLU of Southern California in a letter to the Council. We turned out an overflow crowd to the Council meeting, vastly outnumbering the small number of out-of-town provocateurs who disrupted the meeting with boos and racist, xenophobic rants. We organized a master script to distribute a coherent series of points in one-minute units among our list of speakers. Many other community members spoke movingly as well. You can view the video of the meeting here (sanctuary is agenda item A-1 at 81:42). KCRW coverage is here. After the successful vote, we again used the Action Network platform to facilitate thank-you messages to the Council.