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What is Sanctuary Everywhere?

"Sanctuary Everywhere" is the simple idea that everyday people can work to keep each other safe—wherever we are. Sanctuary can mean taking someone into a congregation to protect them, but even broader than that, sanctuary is about the community coming together to protect those who need it. 

That means standing up to discrimination, harassment, and violence in our schools, congregations, public spaces, cities, streets, and everywhere it happens. Whether we are welcoming refugees or working to stop deportations, protecting religious groups who have been targeted and attacked, working to ensure that Black Lives Matter by interrupting anti-Black violence, or protecting the rights of LGBTQ people, we are all in this together.

Through Sanctuary Everywhere, we hope to equip thousands of people with tools and training to interrupt hateful acts and government actions that put our communities at risk, and to encourage concrete policies and practices that create greater safety and a welcoming environment for all. 

Visit our Sanctuary Everywhere page for more resources. 


Justice for Freddie Gray march in Baltimore. Photo: AFSC/Bryan Vana 

Creating Sanctuary Everywhere

Sanctuary Everywhere draws on the many traditions of peoples' movements protecting targeted communities, like the Underground Railroad during slavery, Kindertransport during the Holocaust, the protection of conscientious objectors during the Vietnam War, the Sanctuary Movement in the 1980s and in more recent years, #NotOneMore, which has sheltered numerous undocumented immigrants from deportation.  

In today's political context, sanctuary is about ensuring safe havens at many different levels for specific targeted communities. Here are some ways that supporters can get involved at any level, in any space.

Individual, Family, Neighborhood

  • Speak out against hateful speech or violence.
  • Accompany a targeted individual in their daily errands.
  • Attend a training to practice how to respond to hateful acts.
  • Holding Sanctuary Everywhere conversations in your neighborhood.

Institutional (schools, colleges, congregations)

  • Create institutional policies that ensure safety for campus residents.
  • Train colleagues in how to create a safe space at work.
  • Establish a team at your child's school to ensure all students are safe.
  • Shelter individuals or families.

City and State

  • Work with your City Council to ensure that the rights of all residents are protected.
  • Strengthen your communities to prepare for further attacks.


Welcoming refugees rally. Photo: AFSC/Arnie Alpert

Sanctuary Everywhere principles

The core values of Sanctuary Everywhere include a commitment to nonviolence, a belief in the inherent worth and dignity of every individual, and a belief that we are stronger when we work together and stand up for each other.

  • We are independent of any government body, though we welcome collaboration with government bodies. 
  • We work to create many different kinds of opportunities for taking action to create a Sanctuary Everywhere at individual, neighborhood, institutional and public policy levels. 
  • We prioritize solutions to create greater safety that are community-based, instead of police-led. 
  • We will work to develop leadership opportunities for, and listen deeply to undocumented, Muslim, refugee, African-American, LGBTQ, and other communities most at risk.  

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