Engaged Learning Forum — "Beyond Sanctuary: Changing the Subject to Immigrant-Led Movements for Justice"


Location: Virtual Event

Elf Banner

Beyond Sanctuary: Changing the Subject to Immigrant-Led Movements for Justice


Dara Marquez, Volunteer Field Organizer, Movimiento Cosecha

Jason Shenk, Course Instructor, Quaker Minister and Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS)

Janna L. Hunter-Bowman, Ph.D,. Assistant Professor of Peace Studies and Christian Social Ethics, Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS)


“Excuse me, what if what we need and want is not to go into your sanctuary but for you to join us in the streets? Will you do that?” asked Dara Marquez, during a 2017 gathering with faith communities that were preparing to provide sanctuary in their buildings.

Immigration is a major issue for the North American churches, and projections of climate migration suggest it will become an even larger one. The sanctuary movement has been the primary model for churches responding to immigrants since the 1980s. In it, churches are the subject and immigrants the vulnerable beneficiaries. This poses a problem for Movimiento Cosecha, a national immigrant-led movement that uses strikes, boycotts, and other nonviolent means to fight for dignity, respect and permanent protection for undocumented immigrants. Many of the immigrant leaders constituting Cosecha’s base are people of Christian faith. Yet Cosecha members find that churches tend to ignore immigrants’ agency, including with movements like Cosecha.  This propensity has contributed to various forms of disconnection, including between Cosecha members and their nourishing communities. This participatory research project aims to expose limitations of common approaches to immigrant communities and the troubling assumptions that often accompany them. For example, the sanctuary model alone is no longer viable due to assumptions about agency and vulnerability that govern it. The initiative explores approaches that center immigrant agency.

This conversation will be led by engaged research partners Dara Marquez, Jason Shenk, and Janna L. Hunter-Bowman. They look forward to discussing their model of engaged research, which delineates the relationship between practice and research, as well as the initiative’s contributions to both. As a campus community that strives to build relationships of love and justice informed by Catholic Social Teaching, this is an opportunity to consider how we show up for immigrant populations and how we can be more accountable in our community-university partnerships.

How to Join

Please indicate if you will join by completing this registration form by 10 a.m. on July 8.


Sponsored by the Center for Social Concerns.