The last several months in Columbia County have shown that amazing opportunities often come well-disguised. After working tirelessly to defeat the county-wide anti-immigrant ballot measure 5-190 with a community campaign that brought together allies across the state, and then losing, things looked pretty grim.
But what seemed like the end was really just the beginning.
Last week, a group of Latino residents of Columbia County formalized their status as ROP’s newest member group. Latinos Unidos para un Futuro Mejor (LUFM, or Latinos United for a Better Future) was formed, complete with a nine-person leadership team and big ambitions for their first public action (contact ROP to find out how to support).
LUFM identified three central messages and goals for their first action:
1. Show that we are honest, working people, that we are struggling, organizing, and that we are united.
2. Show that we are the same: human beings, and that we deserve to be treated with dignity.
3. Make change, and be recognized throughout the state of Oregon.
Following this birth of LUFM, group members attended a standing-room only hearing on Friday at the St. Helens Courthouse, in which the county judge decided to place an injunction on Measure 5-190. This is a huge victory for the county – the law will not go into effect as scheduled, and we continue to have hopes that it will never be implemented.
Over the weekend, LUFM leadership met with the longstanding human dignity group, Columbia County Citizens for Human Dignity, to begin a relationship of mutual support towards the shared goal of respect for the human dignity of every member of the community.
It’s an exciting moment, with two communities coming together respectfully and in good faith to bridge differences – sometimes gracefully, and sometimes with the smallest, most awkward steps. But by uniting our different skills, ideas, and resources, we will continue to work towards a strong, multiracial movement that creates a community where, as Dr. King so eloquently put it, residents are “not judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”