This summer, Jews shut down ICE detention centers across the country. We’re just getting started.

Never Again Action
Oct 1 · 4 min read
Image description: Jewish protestors block the doors to the DHS Headquarters in Washington, DC, holding signs that say “Never Again Means Abolish ICE” and “Never Again Is Now.” (Photo credit: Gili Getz)

It is a new year, and while the seasons change, our government is still caging undocumented people in all 50 states, children and adults. Community members are separated from their loved ones everyday through deportation and indefinite detention. And corporations continue to profit from this irreparable suffering.

When we launched this summer, we could never have imagined how wide-spread and powerful our community’s response would be. We want to thank you for the time, energy and resources that you have already given to this movement. Now that we’ve seen what we can do — it is clear that we can all play a critical role in this fight.

All the way back at the end of June, when about 10 of us, differently-affiliated Jews from across the country, got onto a video call to talk about organizing a Jewish response to the concentration camps at the border, we had no idea what was going to happen. We were horrified by the reports about what was happening at the border, and equally horrified by the mainstream Jewish community’s descent into semantics. We could feel it in our guts — the words that we learned in Hebrew school and from our grandparents and parents: “Never Again.” We knew that we needed to act.

We put up a Google form, and within a few days, over 700 people from across the country had signed up to take action. It was clear that if we made the call, people would respond. This initial form was launched by Jewish organizers in both Cosecha & IfNotNow. Immediately after the form started to get traction, we connected with more Cosecha organizers to ask them how we could utilize the energy in the Jewish community to support their work. It was through these deep relationships between Jewish organizers and immigrant organizers that Never Again Action was born.

Over 200 people showed up to the first action at the Elizabeth Detention Center, just a few miles from Manhattan. We put up a registration form for a campaign call the next night where we would ask people across the country to take action that week. We planned for Never Again Action to exist for one week, and then we were going to channel all of the energy into Cosecha and other local immigration groups.

4000 people signed up for that campaign call. We couldn’t even send everyone that signed up the call-in info from our Gmail account. On that call, 200 people committed to take action.

Actions were springing up everywhere, people from all over the country were signing up. People with preexisting relationships, people who have never organized before, ready to go. Taking risks, reclaiming the story of the moment and using the mic that the Jewish community had to direct the nation’s focus back to the crisis.

We saw how much energy was being catalyzed and knew that we needed to support it, so we pulled together a core of people to build out the infrastructure we would need to support this wave of actions: local action coordinators, action coaches, comms and digital teams, fundraising. People were joining the Slack team and forming all sorts of teams: mental health support, influencer outreach, jail support. Before long, there were dozens of people at both the local and national level essentially giving full time to support the movement.

After 3 weeks of mobilizing non-stop, dozens of actions, a mass mobilization in DC, we realized that this was bigger than any of us had imagined, and that we couldn’t keep up with the momentum. We were exhausted. There were still hundreds and hundreds of people who were waiting to take action. We knew that in order to mobilize them effectively, we couldn’t just keep doing what we had already been doing. We knew that if we were going to keep up the momentum, we needed to have a long term strategy, structures of support, and a clear understanding of our role in the broader immigrant rights movement.

That is why Never Again Action leaders came together at the end of 5779 to make a decision: we are in this fight for the long-haul. We are adding full time capacity and building the infrastructure that we need to support thousands of people to do whatever it takes to end this crisis.

In 5780, we are investing in the people that we need to sustain our movement. Our nationwide impact has so far been possible through a huge outpouring of support and plenty of improvisation. Now, we are solidifying our long-term plans in the fight for immigrant rights. We have a plan to follow immigrant leadership and help build the power that we need to close all the camps and win permanent protection for the 11 million undocumented immigrants who are susceptible to ICE’s and Border Patrol’s daily violence.

This is your chance to be a part of Never Again Action’s official organizational launch: Become a monthly sustainer now & take ongoing action against ICE’s terror.

Donating to Never Again Action will help fund:

  • Transportation & supplies for mass actions
  • A local leaders training in October
  • Large-scale regional assemblies in December
  • Digital infrastructure for our organization
  • Compensation for our new full time staff

In order to function as an organization, we need to raise $250,000 by the end of December. We want to raise a quarter of that from grassroots donations online. You can help us reach our first milestone — $50,000 — by October 28th, in time for our local leaders cohort training.

We are in a critical moment, and with your help we can set up the organizational infrastructure that we need to sustain our momentum. Our community has seen these signs of terror before, and we have the power to change the ending to the story. Never Again means Never Again for Anybody.