This week is End Racial Profiling Advocacy week – thousands of activists and groups around the country are uniting to raise the visibility of racial profiling, and add their voice in support of the End Racial Profiling Act (ERPA).
Racial profiling is a problem in rural Oregon. We’ve heard countless stories: in the Willamette Valley, a state trooper posted up outside of a berry farm for days in a row, pulling over immigrant workers as they drove home at the end of the day. In Eastern Oregon, racial profiling was so bad that the Umatilla Morrow Alternatives collected surveys (call ROP for a copy) asking participants questions about their feelings towards law-enforcement, and then linking that with demographic information. The results were clear. Tragically, Anglos and people of color often seem to live in two separate worlds in rural Oregons, especially on our highways and roads: one is friendly and safe. The other is full of stress and everyday fears and dangers – because of racial profiling.
This week, we want to take a moment to appreciate all of the efforts to end racial profiling happening in rural Oregon. We also want to invite you to take one small action in support of the End Racial Profiling Act. ROP is part of a national effort to pass this bill in DC, and our Congresspeople here in Oregon need to hear from us on this issue. Pick up the phone and let Senators Wyden and Merkley know that you support the bill, and let ROP know what response you get.
If you would like to join a delegation to Merkley’s Portland office this Friday afternoon, organized by our friends at CAUSA, or want to organize your own, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read below for more information from the Rights Working Group – a national group of which ROP is a partner. They have a magnificent toolkit that you can use to take action on your own.
FROM THE RIGHTS WORKING GROUP:
Pass the End Racial Profiling Act of 2011
The End Racial Profiling Act of 2011 (ERPA) is federal legislation that would ban racial profiling across the United States. ERPA was introduced in the House by Representative John Conyers (D-MI) and in the Senate by Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) in 2011.
ERPA takes these steps to ban racial profiling:
- Makes it unlawful for federal, state, local, or Indian tribal law enforcement to profile based on race, religion, ethnicity or national origin;
- Creates a private right of action for victims of profiling, which would allow individuals who believe they have been subject to racial profiling to sue the agent or agency they believe to have violated ERPA;
- Allows the U.S. Attorney General to withhold grants from state law enforcement agencies that are not complying with ERPA;
- Requires training on racial profiling for law enforcement agents;
- Requires data collection and monitoring mechanisms such as complaint processes; and
- For the first time, ERPA prohibits racial profiling in the context of law enforcement surveillance activities.
This week is the National End Racial Profiling Advocacy Week! Organizations from around the country will be meeting with more than 75 Congressional offices in D.C. and many more will be taking action locally. On April 17, the Senate will host its first hearing in 10 years on racial profiling. Momentum is growing and we need you to join the chorus demanding federal action to ban racial profiling.
Contact your Senators and Representatives to urge them to co-sponsor and pass the End Racial Profiling Act (ERPA) and to pressure the Department of Justice (DOJ) to strengthen its 2003 Guidance on racial profiling.
Forward this alert to your friends and listservs. Together we can end racial profiling! Take your own action.
Racial and religious profiling affect people in every area of their lives, yet there is little accountability for federal, state or local law enforcement when individuals are profiled.
All of us have experienced or heard stories of those who have been denied justice when profiled by law enforcement. Communities across the country are continuing to fight back not just for Trayvon Martin and the countless individuals who have been targeted by the NYPD or Border Patrol but for our friends and family members.
Racial profiling is hurting communities across this country, and we need a federal law and stronger Guidance from the DOJ to hold law enforcement agencies accountable. Take your own action.
Members of Congress have the power to hold law enforcement accountable by co-sponsoring and passing the End Racial Profiling Act and signing on to Senator Durbin and Representative Conyers’ letter encouraging DOJ to reform their guidance on racial profiling. We must demand that they act to end racial profiling and protect our communities.