Sheridan to NORCOR: 7 Days of Rural Action


October 12th, 2018
Dear ROPnet,

With over 500 participants, covering 145 miles and marching over 30 miles, the Sheridan to NORCOR journeyers have returned to our home communities to carry forward the message of our march and to continue the work to end detention and deportation. We’re excited to share photos and stories about all that happened along the road and to reflect on the impact this march will have on our long-term organizing to end detention and deportation. 

For 7 days, we marched by hazelnut orchards in Yamhill County, through neighborhoods in Washington County, up to the doors of the ICE building in Portland and to the fences of NORCOR to deliver our message in person: rural Oregon will not allow our public facilities to be used to dehumanize our neighbors and demand an end to the ICE contracts at Sheridan and NORCOR. We will not allow our local law enforcement to collaborate with ICE. We believe in communities where everyone feels welcome and safe. 

As we marched, we shared meals in parks and faith communities with organizers and community leaders across 8 towns and are humbled by the outpouring of soup, coffee and generosity by all who hosted us and filled our bellies. We gathered with hundreds of community members at 6 actions and rallies – check out some of the photos below! In every town where we stopped, we were led by powerful and brilliant rural organizers leading this work in their communities every day and we had the privilege of working closely with local member groups to ensure the journey would amplify and enhance their local organizing. Thank you to Unidos Bridging Community, ICE Out of Sheridan, Defensa de la Dignidad, Hood River Latino Network, Gorge Ecumenical Ministries, Gorge ICE Resistance and many others for your fierce leadership!

Here are a few highlights from the journey: 

SHERIDAN: We kicked off our 7-day march from Sheridan to NORCOR on Sunday, September 30th, rallying together with over 150 Oregonians in front of the razorwire fences of the Sheridan prison. This summer, Federal Corrections Institute (FCI) Sheridan became a site of statewide resistance to the detention and deportation of our people when organizers learned it had begun a contract with ICE and held 121 migrants and refugees. Today, 3 people are still being held ransom in Sheridan, as they are eligible for release as asylum seekers, but will not be released until they can make bail. At our kick off event for the week, we rallied, we sang, we held vigil, we collected donations for the bail fund and we shared in a langar, a community meal, hosted by members of the Sikh community from Dasmesh Darbar Sikh Temple and Sikh Center of Oregon. With our bodies, minds, and hearts nourished, the 30 marchers who would continue this journey together to the end set up camp on a farm in Sheridan to prepare for our first day of marching.
WASHINGTON COUNTY: While marching on our way to McMinnville, an urgent call for solidarity came in: ICE had detained two members of the community at the Washington County Courthouse while they were there for other appointments. We contacted our friends at Unidos Bridging Community and ICE Out of Sheridan, who had planned a rally in McMinnville that evening, and we agreed we should move our vigil to show up in support of Washington County. We hopped on the bus and 50 of us gathered outside the courthouse, greeted by local leaders who have been holding weekly vigils and organizing at the courthouse for over a year in response to previous detentions there. While on the bus, we spread the call for solidarity through the media and blasted information and updates on social media. Several news stations met us there and we were able to help get the story out.
NEWBERG: 35 marchers canvassed in Newberg to talk to our fellow small-town Oregonians about why we need to vote NO on Measure 105. As one participant shared, “I loved that our group came from The Dalles, Condon, Noti, Hillsboro & Albany. I saw the afternoon as an opportunity for all of us to gain confidence not just in knocking on doors, but also in talking about M105.” Leaders are taking home the skills to talk to their neighbors, knock on doors and deliver STAND guides before the election. (Contact if you’d like support for your local electoral action!)
PORTLAND: After a powerful action at the ICE office, over 100 of us met with representatives of Sen Wyden and Merkley’s offices to deliver thank you cards for the work they have done speaking out against detention and deportation and to call upon them in joining us to cut off funding for ICE and demand an end to the contracts at Sheridan and NORCOR.
THE GORGE: In the Gorge, we rallied over 150 strong, first in Hood River and then in The Dalles. We marched in the streets, made noise outside NORCOR, and knew we were heard when folks detained inside pounded on the doors in response. We were joined by Maru Mora Villalpando of NW Detention Center Resistance who has been supporting hunger strikers at the NW Detention Center for over 45 days. Marchers from all over the state joined us for the closing Send-off Rally and we all committed to taking this work home with us and continuing to organize to end detention and deportation in our home communities.

Below are some images of the Sheridan to NORCOR journey. Check out some of these news stories as well:

Seven-day march, rallies focus on immigration, M105
Long walk takes a turn around Portland ICE offices
Caravana proinmigrante hace recorrido desde Sheridan hasta The Dalles
KPTV: ICE protesters on weeklong march across Oregon
KBOO Evening News 10/1/18 (last 15 minutes)
KBOO Evening News 10/4/18 (last 15 minutes)
Yamhill Valley News Register
Congratulations to all the rural Oregonians who offered up their leadership on this march, and to all those who lead the work to end systems of detention and deportation at home. Together, we will get ICE out of Sheridan, ICE out of NORCOR and ICE out of Oregon!
In Solidarity,
The Sheridan to NORCOR journeyers

Many thanks to Crystal Burgoyne for many of these photos!

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