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North Bay Rapid Response Network

History of NBRRN Accompaniment 2017-2023       


The week before Trump was inaugurated on January 20, 2017,  a small group calling ourselves, Allies Safety Network started meeting to discuss creating a hotline for immigrants who might be rounded up by ICE in comingweeks. We soon found out that NBOP North Bay Organizing Project and ten other organizations were also meeting to respond in solidarity with Sonoma County’s immigrant community. These groups requested that NBOP provide

coordination and structure forming the North Bay Rapid Response Network. NBRRN decided that a hotline with a legal observer network was necessary. NBRRN also decided that accompaniment was critical for families who called the hotline. NBOP reached out to PICO California, merged with, and started coordinating with San Francisco Rapid Response hotline groups. A Rapid Response trainer from Pangea Legal Services in San Francisco came to

Santa Rosa in June 2017 and trained about 250+ Legal Observer volunteers at the SR UU Church.


That same day 30 people met for a couple hours to start recruiting Accompaniment volunteers to help families or individuals impacted by ICE raids. And 30 more met to learn to train legal observers, beginning to hold trainings weekly across the county. In the following months, Allies Safety Network took on the role of holding meetings and provided expert presentations with accompaniers for NBRRN. More Legal Observers and Accompaniers were trained county wide for the next months and years by NBRRN.  Many folks who decided to do accompaniment

signed up at or after a Legal Observer Training.


In the winter, spring, summer and fall of 2017 organizations around the country and here in Sonoma County held Know Your Rights trainings for the public and organizations. NBRRN Steering Committee members and community volunteers developed Know Your Rights red cards, modeled on other organizations’ red cards developed across the US where many communities were also creating immigrant support Rapid Response hotlines. NBRRN printed these red cards with our name and 24-hour hotline number, and our yellow cards with simple instructions on how to best

prepare for and react in a raid.  


In August of 2017, ASN held the first accompaniment training at Legal Aid of Sonoma County with Legal Aid sharing

their documents and guidance on ensuring undocumented immigrants would safeguard guardianship of their minor

children if immigration enforcement separated them. Rapid Response Network Accompaniment programs were being developed across the US.  Reverend Deborah Lee of the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity came to Sonoma County in September of 2017 to train us following their model for accompaniment, NEAT Nueva Esperanza Accompaniment Teams.  We discussed at that training accompaniment for asylum seekers. Reverend Lee returned with SHARE El Salvador in the spring of 2019 and to report on the Interfaith Movement 4 Human Integrity/SHARE EL Salvador trip to Honduras to study The Roots of Migration and the growing migrant caravan numbers.  


The first huge fire happened in Sonoma County in early October 2017.  One month later on November 8, 2017, the one-year anniversary of Trump’s election, North Bay Rapid Response Network held a press conference in pouring rain and announced the opening of the 24-hour emergency bi-lingual hotline. People started calling the hotline right away to report suspected ICE activity, ICE taking people, and to find out if ICE was in their neighborhood. They also called seeking legal services and immigration information. The first raids happened in Sonoma County in January 2018 at 7-Elevens in Sebastopol, Petaluma and Napa.  NBRRN developed employer packets to distribute atthese 7-Elevens and other places of business. These packets included letters introducing the hotline, our NBRRNgreen information sheets in English and Spanish, NBRRN bilingual red and yellow cards, posters, publications fromimmigrant legal organizations explaining federal and California state laws for businesses on their rights and howprotect themselves and their workers in a raid. NBRRN organized a coordinated effort to get information tobusinesses.  LSC, a student organization at RUP Roseland University Prep High School organized themselves to goto every business on Sebastopol Road and deliver packets and posters. There were few raids over the next months.


From 2017-2020, NBRRN printed our yellow cards in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Hmong, Chinese, Fijian and

Cambodian.  During those same years NBRRN and many allied organizations distributed over 100,000 NBRRN red and yellow cards and thousands of NBRRN green bi-lingual info sheets at community events, schools, churches, local businesses, farmers markets, the 116 Sebastopol flea market and restaurants.  


NBRRN recruited and trained about 1000 people as Legal Observers and accompaniers.  There are still about 600

people on the NBRRN Legal Observer list. Some declined to be legal observers after the training and some decided to be accompaniers.  NBRRN formed five accompaniment teams from this list and these five teams were named for the five geographic areas of the county…. North County Rapid Response, West County Rapid Response, Sonoma Valley Rapid Response, Petaluma Rapid Response and Santa Rosa Rapid Response.  These groups had

representatives on the NBRRN steering committee. Queer Asylum Accompaniment formed in the spring of 2019, making a sixth team to accompany LGBTQ asylum seekers.


In the spring of 2018, the Trump administration announced its “Zero Tolerance Policy” that separated thousands of children from their parents at the US southern border. Asylum seeker caravans of migrants were coming from across Central America and Mexico.  New dangerous border policies were being introduced and enforced. Detention centers were being filled. At NBRRN Steering Committee meetings, we discussed and finally decided to

also accompany asylum seekers as their needs were great. And accompaniment as originally planned was not being called for in great number by families as there were a low number of raids. Hundreds of Legal Observers were available but not being utilized and many were dropping away from the program.  We didn’t want Accompaniers to also drop away and some continued to attend meeting and trainings lead by NBRRN’s Allies Safety Network.  

ICE started to arrest people at US courts and understandably the immigrant community became fearful of showing

up to court.  In September 2018 a Court accompaniment training was held, organized by NBRRN with Richard Coshnear of VIDAS Vital Immigrant Defense and Advocacy Services and Bernice Espinoza from the Sonoma County Public Defender office.  


Sonoma Valley RRN and North Bay RRN accompaniers worked on training court accompaniers to help family locate and support detainees at Immigration Court in San Francisco and for non-

immigration cases at Sonoma County Court. Sonoma Valley RRN volunteers published a bi-lingual booklet

“PREPARE TO STAY Know Your Rights”/“PEPARARSE PARA QUEDARSE" with detainee locator information, court support information and NBRRN hotline information.  


NBRRN/ASN continued to hold monthly meetings where team members shared what was working well and where

more training and information was needed.  Extensive training and resource material was developed.  Some ofthese trainings included: how best to accompany (what is accompaniment and what it is not), the legal process of asylum, migrant trauma, finances & accompaniment team communication and agreements, fundraising and boundaries for accompaniers, extortion realities, stories and patterns along the border, services for the LGBTQ community, the for-profit electronic monitoring/ankle bracelet program, California DMV laws and mechanics of child car seats for transporting children, Tijuana migrant resources, Rapid Response Hotlines around the country, using social media in immigrant deportation defense (report from August 2018 NDLON conference workshop).


The Petaluma RR team was contacted in September 2018 by the Petaluma Family Resource Center to help a Haitian family with children.  Because of this family’s need for housing and services, the accompanimen trainings/meetings then focused on bringing housing advocates and immigrant service organizations to explain the scope of their services. Over the next couple years and continuing after the COVID shutdown, the following organizations presented to team members who attended the monthly meetings:  Catholic Charities, VIDAS Legal, Graton Day Labor Center work and worker’s rights program, ALMAS women domestic workers’ leadership training group,  USF Immigration and Deportation Defense Clinic, Secure Families Collaborative, Sonoma County

Japanese American Citizens League, Asian American Pacific Islander Coalition of North Bay, Fijian Immigrant Asylum Community and coup history, NEAT Nueva Esperanza Accompaniment Team Bay Area program, SHARE Housing of Sonoma County, NBOP Immigration Task Force, La Plaza Cura Project, Via Esperanza/CAP Community Action Partnership.  A large part of accompaniment monthly meetings has always included reports on our work with immigrants and asylum seekers. These monthly accompaniment updates have provided valuable information on how to access county resources as well as the challenges of the work and how to best support each other.


The March 2020 Accompaniment meeting was our last training meeting until June 2021 when we started meeting again but outside in Howarth Park. The COVID shutdown year saw a reduced active program for some teams but new rich ideas developed. We learned from community organizations how vaccination programs were being implemented for immigrant communities sometimes reluctant to vaccinate. We discussed how accompaniers and

accompaniment work could be affected by vaccination choices and how we could encourage compas and volunteers to take advantage of community vaccine programs. In the fall of 2021 Secure Families Collaborative asked QAA if they wanted to join as a partner.  And in the spring 2022 NBRRN accompaniment was asked by Secure Families Collaborative to join in an American Rescue Plan

Act ARPA grant and in the grant preparation we counted the immigrants and asylum seekers we had accompanied.


We counted almost 70 asylum seekers we had helped from the fall of 2018 through the spring of 2022. Families and individuals were from Haiti, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua. And in the last year our teams have helped another 11-15 asylum seekers.  Our volunteers housed and found housing for compas, gathered clothes for them, transported them to food banks and Cal Fresh appointments, tutored school children and parents,

transported them to doctors and dentists, connected them with legal support and sometimes fundraised legal funds and housing funds. Accompaniers take care of children, get them signed up for school and childcare.  We have helped connect compas with work. We learned the ins and outs of Google Translate and improved our language skills. One car was donated and accompaniers helped aspiring drivers study for DMV exams.  We continue to learn

how to encourage the independence of these new immigrants.


NBRRN accompaniment teams are an NBOP program. NBOP has enabled us to fundraise for accompaniment

through their tax-exempt status.  


See below for individual team online donation links. (NBRRN Hotline and direct hotline accompaniment)


And here is a Go Fund Me specifically for the newly arrived


Honduran Garcia family:

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