Rights session will be bilingual

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Residents of Sonoma Valley can learn how they can help those targeted by President Trump’s deportation orders at a “Know Your Rights” event from 6 to 8 p.m. today, Tuesday, March 7, — or how they can prepare, if they are among the targeted.

The event, which will be in both Spanish and English, will be held in the multipurpose room at El Verano Elementary School, 18606 Riverside Drive. Childcare will be provided.

In break-out sessions, immigrants will learn their rights (in Spanish) and how to make an emergency plan for their families, including establishing guardianship for children who may get left behind.

Others will learn those rights (in English) and how to support the undocumented community before, during, and after possible raids and incarceration by federal authorities (ICE).

“We are taking Trump seriously, and we want help people get ready for whatever happens,” said Mario Castillo, outreach coordinator at the school. “There’s a lot of fear in the community, and Anglos also have an important part to play.”

Claudia Robbins, a volunteer at the school who helped plan the event, agrees. “Many of us have worked hard to get the school district, and the City of Sonoma to declare some kind of sanctuary to protect civil rights,” she said, “but that only goes so far. We all need to do our part too.

“Right now, I’m especially concerned for the families with children,” she said, “many of whom were born here and are citizens.”

Nine different organizations are co-sponsoring the event, including the school and its Family Resource Center, the Sonoma Valley Parent University, La Luz Center, the First Congregational Church, Spiritual Action of Sonoma United Methodist Church, and the North Bay Organizing Project.

Two area legal groups are also sponsors and will provide expert advice, the International Institute of the Bay Area (IIBA) and VIDAS (Vital Immigrant Defense Advocacy and Services). An outgrowth of the YWCA, IIBA got its start defending European immigrants against attacks during World War I, a century ago.

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