what do we mean by sanctuary? 

Since the 2016 election, immigrants and communities of color have been calling for an expansive re-envisioning of what sanctuary can, and must, mean in this new political reality, both in terms of the “who” and the “how." They are asking us to move beyond the traditional, legal, or religious definition of sanctuary and consider every community that is under attack and their needs. Sanctuary is about doing what we can to ensure the dignity and integrity of every individual is respected and preserved, in small ways and large.

"Sanctuary is a place … in which the dignity and integrity of every individual as a human being is respected and preserved. [I]n a sanctuary space, we will all agree on a number of core principles such as being united to protect immigrants from deportation forces, preventing ICE from infecting local law enforcement, protecting Muslims from a religious registry, surveillance & harassment, united against police brutality and stop and frisk and united against misogyny and for womxns’ rights."



What makes a sanctuary home? 

Living our values. Our homes are a place of integrity and dignity for all.

Educating ourselves and our families on our collective rights, such as the 4th and 5th Amendments.

Following fair employment practices in our own homes.

Donating money, time or other resources (grocery shopping, ride shares) to frontline communities or people being targeted.

Extending solidarity and sanctuary beyond immigrants to people of color, people with disabilities, and others being targeted.

Organizing with others to create widening circles of sanctuary and participating in other campaigns and actions led by frontline communities.

Attending trainings on rapid response and community defense.


Why sanctuary homes? 

While we’ve been out marching, protesting and making calls to elected officials, we’ve learned something: we don’t always have to go out there to do something meaningful that has a real impact on people’s lives. We can start at home.

Our homes can be powerful centers of moral action, a space to have open and important conversations we need to be having right now, where we can show up for one another, our neighbors, and the people who work in our community who are under attack.

Expanding upon the traditional definition of sanctuary, as communities of color and immigrants are calling us to do, and guided by our values, #SanctuaryHomes provides concrete ways to: engage with members of targeted communities who work in your home or neighborhood; show visible support for your neighbors who are under attack, and raise money and donate time and resources to frontline communities.

We believe in living our politics begins at home. This is especially true for those of us who are employers of domestic workers—among the people who have been and will be most targeted in this political moment. One big thing we can do is support the women, people of color, and/or immigrants who work in our homes.

For those of us who aren’t employers or care consumers, our homes can still serve as a center of moral action, transforming where we live into a foundation for building the world as it should be.

In New York and California alone, close to 3.5 million households employ domestic workers to provide care for children, support for seniors and people with disabilities, and housecleaning. The majority of these domestic workers are women, and of these, a majority are foreign born, women of color.

But whether or not you have a direct connection to domestic workers, all of our homes can be an important frontline in opposing and resisting the policies of the new administration and 115th Congress.

At the heart of the #SanctuaryHomes campaign are concrete steps that individuals and families can work through and adopt in their own homes. While many of these are designed specifically for domestic employers, there are items in each step that we all can do.

We ask all of you to commit to doing your best to make your home a sanctuary home. It’s not enough to do this behind closed doors. We need to show our neighbors, our communities, and our elected officials that this is a movement.


“Providing sanctuary offers a potent combination of practical protection, personal integrity, and political pushback. These are winnable fights that small groups of ordinary people can take on in our communities and build from there”
— Noah Zatz

Sanctuary & solidarity

Solidarity is multi-directional. This administration poses its own risk to everyone’s wellbeing. Efforts to undermine or dismantle Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act have already begun. The Muslim travel ban is an unprecedented attack on Muslim Americans and their basic civil rights. LGBTQI, people with disabilities—none of these communities are safe from this administration and Congress.

Built into the #SanctuaryHomes campaign is the reality that all of us, workers and employers, neighbors and local business owners, will need to support each other in various scenarios, around immigration, policing, and around defending hard won protections and programs that make it possible for all of us to live and work with dignity.

Our movement knows solidarity. In the domestic worker movement, we’ve always organized under the basic premise that workers and employers can resist the forces pitting them against each other and together advocate for fair, dignified jobs and affordable, quality care.

#SanctuaryHomes reflects what we’ve always known: the personal and the political are inseparable, and it all begins at home.

We call on everyone to make their home a #SanctuaryHome.


about hand in Hand

Hand in Hand is a national network of employers of nannies, housecleaners and home attendants, our families and allies, who are grounded in the conviction that dignified and respectful working conditions benefit worker and employer alike. We envision a future where people live in caring communities that recognize all of our interdependence. To get there, we support employers to improve their employment practices, and to collaborate with workers to change cultural norms and public policies that bring dignity and respect to domestic workers and all of our communities. Find out more at domesticemployers.org

about national domestic workers alliance (NDWA)

The National Domestic Workers Alliance is the leading voice for dignity and fairness for the millions of domestic workers in the United States, most of whom are women. 

NDWA is made up of thousands of nannies, housecleaners, and care workers. More than 50 affiliate organizations represent domestic workers in 36 cities and 17 states. NDWA is powered by the leadership of domestic workers like you, and we put the leadership of women of color front and center in our work. 


a project of:

“The only secure community is an organized one.”
— "Expanding Sanctuary: What Makes A City Sanctuary Now,” Mijente January 2017