By Tamara Dalloul
On October 5th, I had the opportunity to attend a Sanctuary City meeting in Oakland City Hall.
It was both surreal and eye opening to witness the behind the scenes work that Oakland’s Privacy Commission has put in to protect members of our so called ‘Sanctuary City’.
The 2017 presidential election last year was a time of high nerves and anxiety for a lot of people. The results would have monumental repercussions for minority groups all over the United States.
The meeting was centered around the controversial Immigration and Customs Enforcement operation that took place on August 16 in West Oakland. The two brothers, Santos and Darwin, were arrested not for any criminal activity, but for their immigration status.
It was clear to those surrounding me that the Oakland police department was willing to disregard the public and local elected officials and assist ICE in these raids.
As a Lebanese Muslim woman, I am privileged to be living in a liberal area like the Bay Area filled with cities which call themselves Sanctuary Cities.
However I remained fearful that the label of a Sanctuary City would be all bark but no bite.
After sitting through the Sanctuary City meeting in Oakland City Hall, I felt more at ease because I was able to witness first hand how hard these individuals are working to protect threatened minorities, especially during this presidency.
As members of this society we tend to focus on the popular policy makers presented to us in the media and we fail to notice the smaller actors.
Millennials, like me, often hesitate to get involved in their communities because they feel small. They feel as though they won’t be able to make an impact, but that is very wrong of them.
We are accustomed to seeing immediate results, when striving for change is quite the opposite.
It was powerful to watch those individuals from different backgrounds sit at the podium.
However, I left the meeting with a major question in my head…What does it mean to be a sanctuary city when ICE arrests residents at will and the Oakland police assist them in doing so?
Tamara Dalloul is an undergraduate at the University of San Francisco and interned at Media Alliance in the fall of 2017.