A benefit concert featuring Peter Bergel and the Atomic Medicine Show will be held Saturday, January 27, 6 to 8:30 pm at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Salem (UUCS), 5090 Center St. NE. Suggested donation is $ 10 at the door.   Proceeds will go to renovate a room at UUCS to meet fire codes so that overnight guests, such as an undocumented resident seeking sanctuary, can get out safely in the event of a fire.

UUCS members voted May 21 in their annual congregational meeting to become a sanctuary congregation. The Sanctuary Team, a subcommittee of the UUCS Social Justice in Action Team, has been taking the necessary steps to ready the building and the congregation for their first guest.

Local performers at the concert include Ayala’s Band, a local Latino family group, the Aztec Dancers, Mark Babson and Company, Loraine Stuart and Ted Cory as well as Peter Bergel and The Atomic Medicine Show.   Peter Bergel is a lifelong social change activist and song leader.

UUCS’ Rev. Richard R. Davis will offer reflections. Various readings will be made throughout the concert on the history of immigration and racial intolerance in Oregon and our country.

The gathering will allow people to enjoy performances from our local community, and further the awareness of today’s climate of racial intolerance and the need for sanctuary.

Special focus will be given to IP22, a potential ballot measure that seeks to repeal Oregon’s 30-year-old sanctuary law.

One of the first passed in the nation, Oregon’s sanctuary law prohibits local law enforcement from aiding federal authorities in arresting, detaining and deporting undocumented residents. The proposed ballot initiative IP22 was set forth by Oregonians for Immigration Reform which, according to its website, aims to stop undocumented immigration and reduce legal immigration.

UUCS follows a long faith tradition of churches and religious communities serving as places of refuge for those in need, and those fleeing violence, slavery and persecution.

The declaration of sanctuary upholds the Unitarian Universalist key principles of affirming the inherent dignity and worth of each person and promoting justice, equity and compassion.