Building Safety in Your Community

love-hateIf you’re feeling anxious, frustrated or afraid in these days since the election, you’re not alone. Taking action to reach out to others and build safety in your community will help. There are many, many things you can do. Here’s a few ideas about steps you can take:

  • Become an Immigrant Welcoming Congregation: See http://cpcjusticeandwitness.com/immigrant-welcoming/ for resources.
  • Provide tangible support to those targeted: Download this handout created by 20 people of color/LGBTQ/immigrants about how you can help: http://tinyurl.com/help-checklist.
  • Contact your legislators. Use this list http://tinyurl.com/call-legislator-list for guidance on who and how to call. See below for “Tips on Getting Your Legislators to Listen.”
  • Get your local Police Department to issue policy or statements that they will not use their resources to engage in immigration enforcement.
  • Set up ICE raid alerts via text in your area, so that if there is an ICE raid, there is a rapid response team of allies to non-violently disrupt the raid.
  • Check with your local school district and make sure they have a policy for responding to ICE that will protect the rights of children.
  • Speak Up Against Bigotry. This guide from the Southern Poverty Law Center can help: https://www.splcenter.org/20150126/speak-responding-everyday-bigotry
  • Host “Know Your Rights/Conoces Sus Derechos” trainings for both immigrant folks and allies. Note that some folks who are living in fear these days, such as undocumented immigrants, may not feel comfortable to show up at a physical location and driving may be a barrier if they don’t have a license. Kelly Ryan, Pastor of Bethel Congregational UCC in White Salmon, shares that in the Gorge area, they have found this sort of information is easier to send to the people who need it via a local radio station. This way, people receive the same information from the safety of their own homes.
  • Educate yourself on our Constitutional rights: Hood River immigrant rights attorney MariRuth Petzing says there is a culture of fear being fostered under the Trump administration that relies more on fear than facts to intimidate people, especially immigrants and potential immigrants. Anyone who physically lives in the US is protected by the Constitution, but, those rights and protections are just a piece of paper unless people actively call for those rights to be protected. So it is crucial for all of us to know the rights of US residents, so we can stand up for those protections and hold our officials accountable.

Here are some “Tips on Getting Your Legislators to Listen” by Pat Eck, Parkrose Community UCC:

“The two most effective ways to get your message across are writing a letter to the district (state) office and, the most effective, is to actually call the legislator’s district (state) office. Phone calls shake things up, according to Emily Ellsworth, a former congressional staff member from Utah. Ellsworth further noted that Tweeting and Facebook are largely ineffective.

Legislator staff members can be powerful allies. Be kind but firm in your communications. If part of an advocacy group, invite local staffers to come to your events. Invite staff members to field trips and show them what it is like in your community. Highlight the work you are doing. Remember, the staff are the people who run the ground game for the legislators. It is worth the time to help the staffers understand and learn. In turn, when the staff knows you, and has a question about a piece of legislation or amendment that is related to your advocacy, chances are good that you will get a call from that staffer.”

Finally, if you are looking for a place to find support and share resources, join the CPC Racial Justice Network! Contact Elizabeth Durant at edurant@uccportland.org to be added to our Facebook group and/or email list.

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