"Sanctuary" - A New Play by Milta Ortiz

A new play by Milta Ortiz, directed by Marc David Pinate
Presented site specifically at Southside Presbyterian Church
317 W 23rd Street, Tucson, AZ 85713

September 6-23, 2018

Based on real people and events, Sanctuary chronicles the Tucson birth of the 1980s Sanctuary Movement.

In 1981, when Carol and Mica find out about detained Salvadorans fleeing civil war, they set out to process political asylum applications. After they meet Victor, a Salvadoran in a Border Patrol detention center, they realize they're going to need help. They call on Father Hartford, who is first to meet Nidia, another Salvadoran with strong but different opinions on the Salvadoran civil war.

Carol and Mica enlist pastor Jeff Chord of Southside Presbyterian Church, who sits on the National Presbyterian Council and before long Quaker Will Hewitt joins the group with ideas of his own. As the number of detained Salvadorans and Guatemalans continues to grow, the group must choose whether or not to stand up for what they believe. Will they choose the law of man or the law of God?

Sanctuary kicks off a trilogy of plays dealing with immigrants seeking refuge in the U.S., exploring the U.S. involvement in Central America, its consequences, and response.


In an effort to make discussions with immigration specialists accessible, they will be livestreamed through Howlround, a knowledge commons by and for the theater community.

September 9th: Originators of the 1980s Sanctuary Movement
Panelists: Margo Cowan, Lupe Castillo, John Fife and Father Ricardo Elford
Moderated by playwright Milta Ortiz

September 13th - Southside Presbyterian Church Today
Panelists: Pastor Alison Harrington and Day Laborer Program representative
Moderated by T.B.D.

September 16th - Immigration Awareness: What Tucson Groups Are Doing to Help in the Immigrant Crisis
Panelists: Catherine Gaffney of No More Deaths, representative of Samaritans, and 2 more organizations T.B.D.
Moderated by Anna OLeary Ph.D. Department Head/ Mexican American Studies, University of Arizona

September 20th - Globalization and Immigration, and Advocacy
Panelists: Isabel Garcia (immigration lawyer/Derechos Humanos,) Consul General German Alvarez (Salvadoran Consulate,) and Zaira Livier (Peoples Defense Initiative and Free the Children Coalition)
Moderated by Elizabeth Oglesby Ph.D. Associate Professor of Geography and Development, and Center for Latin American Studies, University of Arizona

Read more on the Borderlands Theater page.