March 2010 KTA: Rural Media Center


Rama Carty was one of 70 immigrants that joined a hunger strike at the Port Isabel Detention Center [in Texas].  Mr. Carty said of his time in detention, “I witnessed the destruction of American families in a clearly inhumane process.  That’s what led us to go on a hunger strike.  We had no other recourse to demand our basic human rights were protected.” Carty has now been released from ICE custody, reported by the Detention Watch Network

The bravery of Rama Carty demonstrates that with vigilence and discipline we can make change against even the hardest odds.   There are many ways to get our message out and this month’s Kitchen Tables Activism asks us to utilize the resources at our disposal for finding justice and changing the way that our communities treat those most vulnerable to abuse.

March’s Kitchen Table Activism asks you to sign up for ROP’s Rural Media Center (RMC) — let’s reclaim local media in rural & small town Oregon for use in the movement for democracy, immigration justice and welcoming communities in rural Oregon. 

At a time when we could really use opportunities to connect across divisions, our local papers can be powerful organizing tools to share our message of human dignity and democracy.  In John Day, the response to the Aryan Nation moving to town has been lead by the local paper and supported by hundreds of local community members.  That is a power that the RMC wants harness in each of our small towns!

Our Rural Media Center is an incredible tool. Together, we’ll disseminate a positive message about the contributions of immigrants, immigration reform as key components of a democratic economy, and the value of treating all members of our community with human dignity.  Our communities demographics are changing;  In addition, we can lay some groundwork for positive immigration reform in DC by spreading a humane message in our own communities.

Kitchen Table Activity, March 2010: Changing hearts and minds, one letter at a time.

“A hometown newspaper feels the pulse of the community. A [hometown paper’s] success lies in the community keeping the lines of communication open with the newspaper.” Lake Placid News

WHAT is the KTA:

Sign up for the Rural Media Center as an individual or elect a lead from your Human Dignity Group. It’s easy and almost anyone can do it! Do you read the paper? Do you want to? Do you want to improve your media skills or writing skills? Do you want support in ensuring your local media spreads the message of democracy and dignity? If you answered yes to even ONE of these questions, then you should join the RMC today.

Members of the RMC will generally do three things:

  1. Monitor your local newspaper for articles or letters (in particular relating to immigration), alerting the RMC when you spot something of interest.
  2. Submit letters to the editor to your local newspaper and/ or help recruit others to submit LTEs.
  3. Keep in contact with the ROP RMC staff, Kari, about other opportunities to share the pro-human dignity messages and stories

And what can you expect from the ROP central for the RMC?

Support on messaging, sample letters & op-eds, creative problem solving and more.  ROP central will be a part of linking you up to a statewide network of folks working to advance a rural media strategy.


WHY this KTA:

Our hometown newspapers are a vehicle for democracy, they reach a diverse audience, they speak to local culture and happenings, and they hold relatively credible influence in our communities. In these ways, despite being constantly on the verge of bankruptcy, hometown papers are incredibly relevant and unique.

Columbia County Citizens for Human Dignity posted an ad in classifieds section of the South County Spotlight about an information meeting on a local Spanish-English language exchange, and 30 people who we’d never seen before arrived at the event! Examples like this show us that local papers are still the beacons of information for many in our towns.

A participatory press is required for true democracy and given that our hometown newspapers don’t always represent the most progressive elements of our communities, ROP is very excited to work with you to change the hearts and minds of our communities.

Steps to complete the activity:

  1. Gather your group and decide who will be the RMC lead. Ideally, they will read the local paper, alert the RMC (kari(a) when they see an immigration article, and be responsible for either responding themselves or finding someone else to respond.
  2. Send the Name, Email, Phone number for the RMC lead and name of the paper you’ll be following to kari(a)
  3. Kick off your participation in the Rural Media Center by submitting at least one letter about the racist (and very anti-immigrant) organization, Aryan Nations that has showed interest in moving to Grant County (John Day area). Read a little about it here. Show unity with Grant County as they say Not In Our Town!
  4. Email all you letters to the paper and to kari(a)