A Historic Walk through Central Oregon‏

Last Week- Over 100 walkers marched through Oregon’s 2nd Congressional district and walked from Madras to Bend in a historic 42.2 mile walk. The three day walk was from September 15th-Spetember 17th to Congressman Greg Walden’s office in downtown Bend to deliver over 1,500 signatures from rural Oregon citizens and over 100 small business owners’ letters, calling Walden to be a leader and supporter of a path to citizenship for all 11 million undocumented immigrants.

It was exciting to participate in this historic event after just two weeks as an ROP staff organizer, and I want to share my experience along with some of the photos that capture the inspiration of the event.  The first day of walk was exhilarating, we walked about 12 miles! Unfortunately, my feet didn’t agree and put me out of commission for the second day. Shoes-comfortable shoes make all the difference. Something that I didn’t plan for very well, total rookie.  I ended up with some very painful blisters after the first day of walking. I continued to support my fellow walkers on day two by cheering them on as they reached the water break stations every mile or so. I was so impressed with how committed the walkers were. They only stopped briefly before embarking on the endless walking on the side of a freeway. I still get chills when I see the photos from the walk, still can’t believe we walked about 50 miles! ROP Director Cara was a total trooper! She walked all three days without a flinch, she was totally amazing and inspiring on the walk! If you missed the pictures from the walk, here is the link to enjoy them: http://walkforcitizenship.tumblr.com/

The walking crew on the second day to Redmond!

Mayra Martinez- One of the two who walked the full 50 miles!
Day one. walking out of Madras to Culver!

Rebecca- The other amazing woman who walked the full 50 miles all three days! Woohoo!
Father Luis, from St. Patricks Catholic Church in Madras giving the walkers a blessing before the walk started.
Staff organizer Rosa Navarro on day two in Redmond

We really want to give a shout-out to all the amazing supporters and helpers who helped make the walk a success. Causa organizers Reyna Lopez and Greg Delgado were great at bringing the event together and keeping people motivated.  Local human dignity group leaders from Crook, Jefferson, and Deschutes County stepped up and helped with shuttling and making sure the walkers were all hydrated and well feed during the walk! Many other members of the community heard about the event on the radio or from friend, and joined in alongside the rest of us.

A special thanks to Foster Fell who wrote this in a post last week:

I have been fortunate enough to participate in this Walk, and the spirit and passion and commitment to sacrifice will always stay with me. The organizers of this complex and multi-layered event are jewels in our midst.

All of us are making a remarkable difference in so many ways. The symbolism and significance of this walk touches on the values that we are all keeping alive in these extraordinary times”. 

Foster’s words convey everything I felt being part of this historic walk for human dignity and equality. I am sure all who participated on the walk share these sentiments. Beautiful words indeed Foster! Thanks for sharing them.

At the end of three days, converging on Congressman Walden’s office we were met with dozens of supporters and about a dozen or so of Tea Party members who call themselves the “patriots”. They were hostile, but we very easily drowned them out. As we continued to chant and rally outside of Congressman Walden’s office, representatives from various groups supporting the walk were treated poorly by Walden’s staffer. They were told Walden did not support a path to citizenship for immigrants, even though Walden has expressed support himself in two public interviews. While the meeting itself did not lead to the response we were seeking, we will not stop the pressure! We continued our march through downtown to Trinity Episcopal Church, which six months ago was attacked by arsonists after the kick-off of the March for One Oregon bus tour. We stood across the street in the park in solidarity with the church and our communities.

October 5th National Day of Action

The spirit of the walk and struggle continues. Can you help us send a message that Oregon is ready for real immigration reform? October 5th has been declared a national day of action across the country in support of immigration reform. There are planned actions and rallies October 5th in Bend, Hermiston, Medford and Portland! Contact ROP (503-543-8417) or Causa (xxx-xxx-xxxx) to find out about the event closest to you, or host your own actions in your communities across Oregon.

If you’re far from one of the planned rallies, a good way to get the word out is to host a screening of theMarch for one Oregon Documentary in your community? The 23 minute documentary created by B Media Collective tells the story of 50 Oregonians who travelled 3 NW states earlier this year visiting small-town communities, hosting rallies, marches, and press conferences, and raising the temperature on the need for immigration reform. We have several copies of Aqui Estamos y No Nos Vamos in our office to share with all those who would like to host screenings. Please contact Amanda at Amanda@rop.org for more info on how to obtain the video.

To amplify their voice, let’s flood Rep Walden’s office with pro-reform messages leading up to October 5th:

Walden’s Central Oregon office: 541-389-4408, Walden’s DC Office: 202-225-6730
What we want is simple: Walden’s support for a vote on the immigration reform bill that has been stagnated in the House since the Senate passed their version early in the summer.  Tell Walden you support a path to citizenship for undocumented Oregonians and you want to see a House vote ASAP!