This week, author and photojournalist David Bacon began his tour of the Northwest with a stop at the Congregational Church of Lincoln City. With roots in the labor movement, Bacon has been documenting the changing conditions in the workforce, the impact of the global economy, war and migration, and the struggle for human rights.
In Lincoln City, a group of 50 adults and children came out to hear what David Bacon had to say, in an event that became much more than a lecture. Local speakers represented the Latino and faith community, and community members came out of the woodwork to support the event by helping with promotion and logistics. The evening event evolved into a discussion, as community members shared their own immigration stories, and their hopes for a more humane immigration policy. Ken McCormack, one of the central organizers of the event, said, “the sharing of experiences was moving. We have a long way to go towards reforming immigration laws and the treatment of undocumented workers.”
It’s true that we have a long way to go. ROP has brought David Bacon to rural Oregon with the knowledge that even the largest mountains are moved through education, organization, and collective action. And one way to influence policy decisions that have resounding impacts in our community is to take action: to communicate with our legislators at a crucial moment when bills are being passed and decisions made.
One piece of legislation that we must get passed this year is the TRADE Act. David Bacon has written extensively about the real impacts that US trade policies have on countries south of the border – increasing the gap between rich and poor, spurring increase internal dislocation and emigration – and these are the policies that the TRADE Act seeks to address. If passed, the Act would establish mandatory criteria for what must and must not be included in future trade agreements – criteria that address issues of human rights, labor rights, and environmental impact.
The TRADE Act has been put on the back burner by our representatives, and now needs congressional sponsors to move forward. It is up to us to show that the Act is a priority for us. One way to do that is by signing on to a letter to Congress that urges them to take this issue up immediately in this legislative session. If you represent an organization that supports fair trade policies, now is the time to take action. Reply to firstname.lastname@example.org to add your organization as a supporter of the TRADE Act.
Another way to stay informed about immigration issues as they come up in the legislature is to sign up for ROP’s Immigration Fairness Network. Reply to email@example.com to have your name added to the list.
And don’t forget to check out a David Bacon Tour stop near you! A complete list of stops can be found below.
Friday, January 23
10 am-11:20 am
International School of the Cascades
Jobs with Justice
UA Local 290 Training Center
Saturday, January 24
7 to 9 pm
University of Oregon Law School, Agate & 15th, Rm 110
hosted by the Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics
Monday, January 26
Western Washington University
Communications Facility 110
sponsored by Fairhaven College and Associated Students Social Issues
Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship
1708 T Street
Tuesday, January 27
University of Washington
218 St. Helens Ave.
Wednesday, January 28
University of Washington
Bridges Labor Center
Northwest Immigrant Rights Project
615 Second Ave., #400
Elliott Bay Books
101 S. Main St.
Thursday, January 29
Evergreen State College Labor Center
Friday, January 30
Portland State University
University of Portland
St. Mary’s Student Center Lounge
5000 N. Willamette Blvd
Saturday, January 31
Cross Border Labor Organizing Committee
Jobs with Justice – Financial Crisis Forum
Sunday, February 1
Western Oregon University
ITC 211 (Information Technology Building, right in the middle of campus)
345 N. Monmouth Ave
Corvallis Public Library
645 NW Monroe
Monday, February 2
Medford Public Library
205 S Central