Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights 2020

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Sanctuary Movement and Manzo

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
Photo: Dia de los Muertos at San Xavier on Tohono O'odham land on Oct. 31, 2009. Crosses in memorial for those who died crossing the Sonoran Desert. Photo Brenda Norrell

TUCSON -- In the heart of the barrios of Tucson, there lives and breathes the inexplicable truth that it is possible to do great works with one's life, saving the lives of countless peoples who face torture and death.
Before the Sanctuary Movement's Central American underground railroad, there was the former Manzo Area Council. Indigenous Peoples were among those who found shelter in this country because of the heroic acts of the people in these movements. Following the birth of Manzo, the Rev. John Fife and co-founder James Corbett, the late Quaker rancher who died in 2001, announced the existence of the Central American underground railroad. At a recent dinner honoring Manzo, Fife said the credit for the Sanctuary Movement should go to Manzo, comprised of a small group of women from Tucson's west side. Those include Manzo's Margo Cowan and Lupe Castillo. Fife and the Asylum Program of Arizona, honored Cowan, Cathy MontaƱo Gamez, Margie Ramirez Atkins and Sister Ann Gabriel Marciacq of the St. Joseph Carondelet order for their work, which led to saving the lives and sheltering those who fled torture and death in their own countries.
Listen to this program, recorded by Amanda Shauger at KXCI Tucson and read more at:
Read Mother Tongue: Demetria Martinez' award-winning book Mother Tongue is based in part upon Martinez's 1988 trial for conspiracy against the United States government in connection with smuggling Salvadoran refugees into the country, a charge that with others carried a 25 -year prison sentence. A religion reporter at the time, covering the faith-based Sanctuary Movement, Martinez was found not guilty on First Amendment Grounds.

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