The right to be heard

August 18th, 2014
I have lived in Columbia County for 25 years. I raised my children here, I work here, I was married here. This is my community and I have the right to drive, to participate, and to be heard.

– Lionila Jimenez, Columbia County Cultural Coalition

We need to do more than just ask to be treated well, we need to take action.

–Jorge Hernandez, Immigration Information Response Team

Dear ROPnetters:

Over the last several years, human dignity groups across the state have done inspiring work to confront deportations and fight for immigrants’ rights in their hometowns. 5 communities have passed Welcoming Resolutions declaring that these places are safe for immigrants to live and participate fully. Groups have built power to push County Sheriffs to stop honoring ICE holds – and we have been successful!!

In Lincoln County, ROP human dignity group the Immigration Information Response Team (IIRT) has been organizing since 2009 to build a welcoming community and push back against racism. IIRT has organized community forums, met with their local sheriff to confront racial profiling, held movie nights, put letters in the paper with pro-immigrant messages, advocated for families who were being torn apart by deportation, and passed Welcoming Resolutions in multiple towns and at the county level. After years of trying every angle they could find, Lincoln County is saying ENOUGH. It is time to take bold action!

IIRT and the human dignity groups represented in the Latin@ Advisory Board (LAB) have committed to taking action in their communities. They have called for October to be a Month of Action to pass the Driver Card and End Deportations. This is a call out to all human dignity leaders in the ROP network to join in and mobilize in your community!

In 2009, when Columbia County voters had just passed an anti-immigrant ballot measure, the newly formed Latinos Unidos para un Futuro Mejor marched 300 strong through downtown Saint Helens on their walk for respect and dignity. This was the first immigrants’ rights march ever to take place in Columbia County – and it happened because lives were on the line. Immigrants and Latinos in the community were being sent the message: “You don’t belong. We want you out.” In response, they were marching to say: “We are responsible and hard-working people. We treat people with dignity and respect, and we ask for the same for our community.” It was a simple message, but a very brave action.

Today, members of this same group are planning another march under their new name, the Columbia County Cultural Coalition, this time from Scappoose to Saint Helens (9 miles!) Please stand with them!

Lincoln and Columbia Counties are just two of the counties saying “Enough!” and calling for groups from every corner of Oregon to mobilize in October: YES on Driver Cards, YES on Measure 88, NO to deportations!

There are two ways to participate in the October Month of Action

1. Organize your own event in your town. This can be anything from a simple rally to a cultural event, to a walk, or a canvass day. The important thing is that you do something public, take action, to educate your community to vote YES on the driver card in November, and say NO to deportations. Let us know about your event so that we can feature it on the website! Contact cara@rop.org.

2. Attend a nearby Day of Action. As groups plan their actions, we will keep our Month of Action webpage updated with all of the local actions that are planned. And there is nothing to boost the small-town spirit like some cross-community solidarity! Put the nearest one on your calendar, or plan to make a road trip to go to multiple events!

2. Take a simple photo of your group or family holding the Month of Action flyer, standing in solidarity. Send it to us at ROP, and we will compile the dozens of photos from communities across the state and share it out broadly: rural Oregon stands united for true human dignity, which means an end to deportations and safety for immigrants.

You can look forward to updates on the October Month of Action in the coming months as groups get their actions rolling.

Thank you for standing with us, and we’ll see you in the streets,

Amanda, Jess, Cara, & the Latin@ Advisory Board

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