Building Power to Free Them All

Today we celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day and the powerful organizing and resilience of Indigenous people all across the continent! In celebrating this day, we recognize that the borders of the United States “crossed” many people, not vise versa, and how the militarization of borders and immigration has impacted Indigenous peoples. Many of you have been asking us for an update on what’s been going on in Central Oregon after more than 1,000 people attempted to stop the separation of to community members from their families by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Bend, the traditional lands of the Wasco, Warm Springs, and Paiute people. Read on to get the scoop! What’s going on in your corner of the state? Share what your group is up to! We’d love to stay in touch!

Exactly two months ago, over 1,000 people peacefully surrounded Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) armored buses in Bend, demanding that ICE release the two neighbors of ours they detained. For those of you who didn’t see the news, federal agents including Border Patrol descended upon the protesters, pepper spraying and punching people on their way to nab the people inside and take them to the private prison deceivingly called “Northwest ICE Processing Center” in Tacoma. The next morning, we learned from Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel that the orders came from “the highest levels of government” and that they “did not want this to end peacefully.”

 

This assault on our basic human rights did not slow us down! In fact, the outpouring of community support transformed from quickly mobilizing in-person to coordinating concrete support for both families directly affected by these two detentions. As Marco and Josue were shuttled from Bend, through the Northern Oregon Regional Correctional Facility (NORCOR) in The Dalles, and on to Tacoma, people cooked dozens of hot meals for their families and fundraised $40,000 to help pay legal fees, childcare, and rent. Just days later, thanks to the spotlight shone by mass movement, organizers in the Gorge, who had been building power for 3 years, successfully pushed the NORCOR Board of Directors to vote to end their ICE contract.

 

In Central Oregon, organizers have used the high profile detentions in Bend to bring in more community members to the work of keeping ourselves and our neighbors as safe as possible. We have organized trainings on topics ranging from how to protect your constitutional rights when confronted by ICE to what to do if you hear a rumor of ICE at the grocery store (verify before repeating anything is the short answer!). We collected letters of support from local, regional, and national organizations for both Marco and Josue’s legal cases, asking the court to release them back to their community as quickly as possible. In Marco’s case, these letters made the difference in the judge setting his bond at only $10,000, a remarkably low sum for bonds at the Northwest ICE Processing Center in Tacoma. Thanks to all this incredible support, Marco is now back home with his family, and we are hopeful that Josue will be released soon as well!

As we go forward, we are continuing to ask hard questions of the police, who we saw providing ICE agents with water bottles, rides, and phone chargers. We are committed to holding them accountable to both our moral imperative to stop separating families and our State Sanctuary Law which bans local law enforcement from using public dollars to help enforce federal immigration laws. And we are building up our own systems of safety and security too!

Next week, ROP, Mecca Bend, and the Central Oregon Peacekeepers are hosting a Rapid Response to ICE Raids Training for Central Oregonians in English and Spanish from 10 – 11:30 AM on Saturday, October 17th. Do you live in Central Oregon and want to be better prepared to respond the next time ICE comes to town? You can find more information at rop.org/strategysession and register HERE!

 

Red de Respuesta Rápida Contra la Migra: Entrenamiento para Oregón Central. Sábado, 17a de octubre 10 – 1130 AM. ¡Participar por telefono o computadora! Este entrenamiento está organizado en colaboración con Mecca Bend y Central Oregon Peacekeepers. El evento esta en Inglés con interprete en Español.Registrese aqui!

 

We have a vision of Oregon where everyone can live their lives fully with safety and dignity, and that vision will not be possible until ICE, Border Patrol, and the Department of Homeland Security are no longer tearing our communities apart. Across the state, rural Oregonians are making this vision a reality, by showing up for one another, and supporting each other in staying safe and dreaming big. Want to take action with us?

  • Join us for Defending Democracy: Interrupting Voter Intimidation and Misinformation by phone or computer on Thursday, October 15th 6:30 – 8PM! The violent actions taken in Bend demonstrates how much is on the line this election. Come strategize with us about how to defend democracy this fall and beyond. Register here!
  • Call up, or sit down with your local sheriff and/or police chief to make sure they aren’t collaborating with ICE. Here’s a list of questions to get you started!
  • Organize in a group! We are always more powerful together. Get your friends together and make a plan for how to make your community more safe and welcoming for all. Need help getting started? Reach out to ROP at emma@rop.org!

Already taking action? How is your group working toward building a truly safe and welcoming community for all? How are you defending democracy this election season? Let us know at emma@rop.org and we would love to highlight and support your work!

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