Know Your Rights Workshops hit the Road!

Our Rural Latino Retreat earlier this year really drove home Oregon’s truth: we’re ready.  Ready for a human dignity movement led by people who know all about assaults on dignity daily: immigrants & immigrant families. As part of our support to rural Latino groups, ROP has teamed up with the Civil Liberties Defense Center based in Eugene, Oregon, to bring “Know Your Rights” workshops to 9 counties in rural Oregon from October-December 2011. Read on for stop locations, details and more.

Most of us don’t live the daily turmoil of not knowing – if we’ll make it home from work, if our family will stay together, if a simple traffic stop will shatter our dreams.  If you’re feeling disconnected from the detentions and deportations crisis, here is a video of one Bend woman, who has now been deported, eloquently telling her story.

Under Obama, we have reached a million deportations, the most of any president so far.  Laws like in Alabama are bringing immigrant scapegoating to a new low.The day following the Alabama law’s implementation, thousands of children in immigrant families were absent from school.  A water company began requiring proof of status to keep service to immigrant households.  The impacts are deep and painful.  Building a movement for justice in our communities means equipping everyone, especially those most under attack, with the tools they need to protect themselves and their families.

The goal of the “Know Your Rights” tour is to teach hundreds of rural immigrants & allies to defend their rights when faced with police or federal immigration officials, but also to build solidarity and knowledge.  Allies are invited to attend – and most workshops will feature a story telling component where we deepen our understanding of the human impacts of a broken immigration system.  Participants of each workshop will be invited to join with a local host group for year-round organizing to have an impact in their local community.

The tour kicked off on Saturday, October 1st in Columbia County.  Latinos Unidos para Un Futuro Mejor (Latinos United for a Better Future) hosted the first stop, complete with activities for children, updates on Oregon immigrants rights bills, a “Tell Us Your Story” time in which immigrant stories were filmed by volunteers as part of the Welcoming Community project, and a delicious dinner.

Latinos Unidos para Un Futuro Mejor brought in 35 people with dozens of children in tow to learn what it means to not only know your rights but know how exercise them.  Every single person stayed for the two-hour long workshop that was being translated in Spanish. It was inspiring and exciting to see that everybody who came was ready to learn, participate and share with each other. The urgency was felt for this type of information among immigrants and the community at large. Having the opportunity to come to a friendly place to learn, understand what our individual rights are, how we can enforce them and the importance of it was invaluable for every single person in the room.

Now that we have stopped in St. Helens, we are ready for our next stop! Here’s a list of dates and places where we’ll be hosting the workshops in collaboration with local Latino social justice groups.

October 15th: Yamhill County: Dayton – Hosted by Mujeres Latinos Luchando por el Pueblo
November 12th: Umatilla County, Hermiston – Hosted by Guardianes de la Raza
November 13th: Central Oregon, Prineville – Hosted by CAUSA
December 8th: Yamhill County: Newberg – Hosted by Newberg Public Library
December 10th: Polk County, Independence – Hosted by Polk Cafe Commons
December 11th: Lincoln County, Lincoln City & Newport – Hosted by “Centro de Ayuda”

You and your group can join us in the workshop and show your support and you might also learn a new thing or two! Your support and alliance is very important to the immigrant community, it shows that they are welcomed with open arms. In times like we are living right now, being an immigrant brings feelings of insecurity and exclusion. With that said, please join us for an informative session filled with fun and camaraderie!

Contact keyla@rop.org to find information for the lead organizer for each stop on the tour!

Keyla & Amanda

P.S Can’t make it to a stop?  There is another way to support!  ROP is recruiting donors who can give from $10-$100 to help cover travel and other costs to bring the tour to rural Oregon.  Get in touch with Keyla to find out more.

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