I want my town to be a place where neighbors, across races or immigration status, work together so that all people are safe, treated fairly & can live free from fear.
This month we ask you to share your story of what makes a community safe for all people? What does real security look like? From the debate in Arizona and here in Oregon, you would think laws that paint all people of color as criminals are the keys to creating security.
Let’s look deeper:
• The Arizona law has made police fearful of destroying long built relationships with the Latino community;
• The AZ law was initiated because predominantly white citizens are afraid of Latino people becoming too big of a majority & having ‘ethnic solidarity’;
• Often Latino citizens support these anti-undocumented laws because they are afraid of being targeted alongside their oppressed sisters and brothers;
• Latinos of all stripes are now more afraid of law enforcement; and
• Federal officials are voting on terrible border militarization laws because they are afraid of angry voters.
That does not describe a safe community. These laws do not make us safer.
By embracing immigrants in our communities we can define safety for ourselves – a community where everyone has a safe and secure job, where everyone has a safe home to return to at night, and where all of our different experiences and views can be safely expressed and respected.
We also build safer neighborhoods by seeking trust and communication between communities of color, white communities, and law enforcement.
Write a letter to your paper today sharing what makes you fearful & what makes you feel secure in your community.
P.S. See the ROPnet from Amanda for more details on the anti-immigrant happenings in Oregon.
SAMPLE LTE for JUNE:
I’d like to share a LTE that was written by Sarah Loose and published in the Oregonian. Draw inspiration from this & share your own fears and needs for security! Or just edit and submit Sarah’s letter with your name – she won’t mind sharing!
Politicians say that Arizona’s new law (SB 1070) and the Secure Communities program (recently introduced in Clackamas County) are supposed to make our communities safer. Safer from what? I’m not scared of the hard-working immigrants who keep our houses clean and our tables full of fresh-picked produce; or of the thousands of stellar immigrant students who will graduate next month, but with no options for continuing their studies because they don’t have papers.
What I’m scared of is what will happen if local police and sheriffs start spending all their time and our tax dollars hunting down anyone who looks illegal rather than addressing the real problems tearing apart our communities. Most of all I’m scared about where our country is headed.
Name, Phone, Address
– I want to work towards safety in my community that is defined by strong relationships with our neighbors
and supportive community services.
– Freedom from fear of our neighbors, equal access to protection from crimes and violence, and secure economic opportunity for all keeps our whole community safer.
– The tough anti-immigrant legislation makes it more difficult to fight crime in our communities, by turning the focus from creating safety in our communities to targeting our immigrant neighbors.
– I value diversity in my community, and working together to keep each other safe in these difficult economic times.
The Rural Media Center is injecting some sensibility and neighborliness into the immigration conversation through our small town newspapers. Each month has a different theme or message that cuts through divisive portrayals of immigration and immigrants and holds up our vision of a Welcoming Community – slowly but surely shifting consciousness and taking power back from big media.
Together we make a greater impact than when we act alone!