Immigrant Rights Committee Morns Loss of Walker Church Home

When the Walker Community Church burned on Memorial Day, Minneapolis lost more than an historic building. It also lost a center that housed may community action groups who are now trying to regroup.

Brad Sigal is a member of MIRAC, Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee, which was one of three permanent tenants in the church, the others being Welfare Rights Committee and Communities United Against Police Brutality. MIRAC did not have insurance on the office contents.

Help is on the way, and despite the fire MIRAC is making progress on helping immigrants.

Sigal recounted some of the long social action history of the century old buiding. In the 1980s it was a refuge for immigrants under attack as a result of the Sensenbrenner Bill. The church even provided living space.

Despite the bad news of the fire, Sigal is glad about the victories in the last legislative session that turned back some of the Republican attacks on emergency medical care for immigrants. He said, “We feel pretty proud about that because it’s really almost unheard of that when the right wing politicians cut a social program that they feel enough pressures to actually restore part of it.”

MIRAC continues its work meeting in a library and a bookstore until permanent arrangements can be made.

The Headwaters Foundation has created a web site to raise funds for the three organizations.

Previous story about the botched investigation of the fire’s cause.

Bill Sorem

Bill Sorem is a longtime advertising professional who started with Campbell Mithun and ended up with his own agency. After a tour as a sailing fleet manager in the Virgin Islands he turned to database programming as an independent consultant. He has written sailing guides for the British Virgin Islands and Belize, and written for a number of blogs. In 2010, he volunteered as a citizen journalist with The UpTake and has stayed on as a video reporter.

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