In the days following the horrific violence by the white nationalists who descended on Charlottesville, VA, rural Oregonians gathered with their neighbors in action, remembrance, and commitment to the work ahead of us. From towns as small as 500 people to the largest cities in the state, communities chose to confront fear with courage, heart, and solidarity. Check out the stories and photos of small town and rural community actions across Oregon below.
As we rally, march, and hold vigil at home, we are watching communities across the country come together to keep each other safe in the midst of climate crises. Over the last weeks we have watched Southern communities struggle to bring people to safety through the floodwaters of Hurricane Harvey. In Houston, fisher-people and folks with small boats with little to no experience in search and rescue are navigating the flood waters to save entire neighborhoods of people on rooftops. Here in Oregon, many towns are also facing evacuation by smoke and fire, and in Curry County neighbors are organizing to move families and farm animals in peril to safe haven.
It now appears that Trump will announce the end of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protection Status (TPS) early this week, calling us into action for our immigrant neighbors. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is a program for immigrant youth brought here as small children in search of a better life, safety, and family reunification. Ending DACA would jeopardize the dreams of over 800,000 young people nationwide, and 11,000 people in Oregon who know no other home. These young people bravely came forward, passed rigorous background checks, and paid nearly $500 in government fees every two years, and will be at risk of detention and deportation despite their courage.
What can we do?:
- Call your Congresspeople – they need to act immediately to protect immigrant youth through the bi-partisan Dream Act of 2017! Clearly demand that they do not use immigrant youth as bargaining chips to further criminalize and persecute the broader immigrant community. Click here to find your Congresspeople’s contact information or call 888-542-8298.
- Hold a local action in support of the immigrant community. Organize a rally, vigil, or prayer service and invite allies in the faith, labor, and civil rights community in your community to join you. Email us at email@example.com with details so ROP can support your organizing and help get the word out.
- Talk to faith communities about offering sanctuary. Click here for more resources, including toolkits on rapid response for faith communities.
- Dedicate your group’s next meeting to figuring out your local next steps. At your group’s next meeting, discuss what your group can do to offer support to the immigrant community in your town, map out who needs to have a conversation about immigration that otherwise might only get their information from TV news, and how you can share information with your neighbors so they know what’s at stake.
- Take a moment to share these action items with your local group, your email networks, and your neighbors.
- Share your events, actions, next steps, ideas, and questions with us at ROP.
In moments like these, confusion, fear, anger, and grief can feel overwhelming. It can seem like we are facing trouble coming in from all sides. It is easy to feel isolated and alone in our towns and communities, when we know that the people right next door may hold very different views. Now more than ever, we must remember that we are part of a living and loving movement for human dignity. As we join with friends and neighbors, we can overcome the differences that divide us. This movement is a force, growing stronger and brighter in the face of adversity. We are grateful beyond measure to be doing this with all of you. Together.
Rural Oregon shows up in solidarity with Charlottesville
No strangers to white nationalism, over 60 people marched through John Day in solidarity with Charlottesville. A local leader and action organizer said, “I was fed up with sitting and reading and thinking and stewing and not doing anything. I think that right now, with everything that’s happening, we all need to be doing something to let our voices be heard. We’ve dealt with this issue here in Grant County. It was just several years ago where we had a neo-Nazi group trying to purchase property and trying to establish headquarters here.” Read more here.
Over 40 people gathered in Yachats. Click here to read the local coverage!
Over 65 people marched and rallied!
Portland’s Eclipse Hate August 18th rally was attended by thousands.
Over 30 folks rallied in solidarity with Charlottesville – click here to read more. The local paper also covered the fact that Coos County teachers are teaching the Charlottesville curriculum, click here to check it out!
Over 25 folks rallied in Port Orford to overwhelming support from their neighbors driving by!
Over 70 people rallied at the Wasco County Courthouse in The Dalles on August 13th. “Sunday on the Steps” actions will continue every Sunday at 8pm on the Wasco County Courthouse steps.
Over 500 people gathered in Corvallis for a rally with speakers, including leadership of the local NAACP chapter. One professor who has recently visited his family in Charlottesville remarked, “what happened there is five minutes from what could happen here.” Read more here.
About 100 people participated in a powerful rally in Astoria, including singing and statements by local leaders. Click here to listen to the community radio segment!
And hundreds more marched and rallied in Lane, Union, Linn, Yamhill, Jackson, Deschutes, and Josephine Counties! Did we miss your community’s participation? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with a description and we’ll update our list.