Santuario 19121: Black and Brown Resistance in North Central Philadelphia


Santuario 19121 is a snapshot into two groups organizing in North Philadelphia—Sanctuary Advocate Coalition and Stadium Stompers.

Free .pdf version available in Spanish.


Stadium Stompers is a movement of North Philly community members, students, and workers coming together to stop Temple's proposed football stadium and build power.

Meetings are every other (typically second and fourth) Wednesday from 6PM-7:30PM, at the Church of the Advocate located on 18th & Diamond St.

We Are Creating an Extended Vision of Sanctuary in Philadelphia



The center, the beating heart of the Sanctuary Advocate Coalition is Carmela Apolonio Hernandez. Strong, fierce and utterly determined, Carmela teaches us how to be human. She leads us in the practice of radical love and faith under the most challenging circumstances. Every day, she rises and demonstrates what it takes to fight, even with the most powerful nation on earth arrayed against us.

Carmela’s children, Fidel, Keyri, Yoselyn and Edwin are a constant source of inspiration for us. Their love and trust for Carmela, their resiliency and their faith in the Sanctuary Advocate Coalition, grounds us and provides focus for our work.

Profoundly committed to an expanded vision of sanctuary, the Sanctuary Advocate Coalition works to link the struggles of immigrant communities with the struggles of black communities. Carmela and her children are under the care of the Church of the Advocate, an historic black church in the heart of North Central Philadelphia, the second black church in the U.S. to provide sanctuary to a Mexican family.

We recognize that the sanctuary movement is a twenty-first century reverberation of the Underground Railroad. In the late nineteenth century, at a time when blacks were chattel and counted by the federal government as three-fifths of a person, the Underground Railroad asserted the humanity of slaves by facilitating perilous journeys toward freedom. Today, the sanctuary movement challenges the denial of person-hood to immigrants and those in need of refuge. By recognizing the humanity of those labeled “alien” by the federal government, by seeking to protect the safety and rights of immigrants and refugees, the sanctuary movement continues this legacy of resistance.

We recognize the deadly and pernicious continuum of mass incarceration, mass deportation, and immigrant detention that targets and attempts to destroy black and brown communities. Black and Latinx men are imprisoned at a far greater rate than white men: 1 in 3 black men and 1 in 6 Latinx men will spend time in prison, compared with only 1 in 17 white men. Over 97 percent of all deportees are Latin American and Caribbean nationals, while Latinx women and children fleeing violence in their home countries and seeking asylum in the US are imprisoned in detention facilities, subject to being locked up apart from their children. This heightened level of state repression creates a tidal wave of crisis in the communities left behind. Families are often left impoverished by the loss of providers and traumatized by the loss of loved ones. These parallel experiences in systemic oppression in black and brown communities are devastating, but they are also an impetus for us to forge and deepen solidarity to build a just future. This solidarity has never been more urgent.

We are resolved, we are strengthened by each other, we are ready.

Sanctuary Advocate Coalition members:

Decarcerate PA
Free Migration Project
Media Mobilizing Project
Stadium Stompers
Youth Art & Self-Empowerment Project
Philadelphia Federation of Teachers