In winter of 2009, we marched 300-strong through Saint Helens demanding basic dignity and respect for immigrants. We struggled to defeat two anti-immigrant ballot measures that divided our county for months. It was clear: we need to create vibrant and inclusive communities before a crisis occurs.
ROP is a proud partner of Welcoming America movement across 19 states for immigrant inclusion, respect and integration. Our Welcoming approach transforms communities. For example:
Lincoln County’s Immigration Information Response Team held a forum to address racial profiling and police-Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) collaboration with the district attorney, police chief, sheriff, and the county commission and have seen a drop in deportations of immigrants stemming from minor traffic infractions. Leaders are now going city-by-city to pass Welcoming Resolutions.
For two years Immigrant Family Advocates (IFA) have been researching and advocating on the behalf of immigrants in Central Oregon, where an average 2.5 community members are deported each week. When the City Club of Central Oregon was to host the state’s most prominent anti-immigrant group, IFA secured a speaking role at the same event. The event concluded in a standing ovation for the IFA speaker, inspiring a model for speakers bureaus in other communities.
In February of 2011, ROP held its first annual Rural Latino Leadership Retreat. Over 50 Latino leaders representing a dozen rural counties convened to develop organizing strategies based on the experience of rural Latinos. This fall, our Know Your Rights tour visited 10 communities to lessen fear through education on “your rights and the police”.
Don’t miss our Welcoming Communities toolkit, released in 2012, full of resources for making your community more welcoming to newcomers.