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Friday, May 28, 2010

What do faith leaders, unions, educators, youth groups, charities and community organizations have in common?

By Natalie Patrick-Knox

What do faith leaders, unions, educators, youth groups, charities, community organizations and others have in common? They all play an important role in U.S. civil society, and tomorrow these groups will gather together across the country to voice their concerns about Arizona’s SB 1070, a new law that encourages racial profiling against some and challenges the civil liberties of everyone.
Civil society is an indispensible part of democracy. The State Department promotes civil society in its work across the globe as a way to foster democracy and good governance in other countries. Just this past week Under Secretary of State Maria Otero was in Indonesia promoting the importance of civil society in the country’s continued democratic development.

While countries such as Indonesia work to develop their civil society to encourage progress, U.S. civil society will demonstrate on May 29th in a National Day of Action Against Arizona’s Racial Profiling Laws that it is important to ensure continued progress in society. Our communities in Oregon will certainly show the strength of our own civil society as they participate in this day of action.

Tomorrow in Salem, starting at 11:00 am families, neighbors, and friends from communities across Oregon will gather on the front steps of the capitol. They will march through the streets of the as they call for a stop to the unjust laws that threaten the civil rights of our nation. As evening comes to Oregon, labor, immigrant, faith, and grassroots organizations will meet starting at 5:00 pm in Portland at SW 3rd and Madison for a vigil and march to show their solidarity and provide testimony of the injustice embodied by Arizona’s SB 1070. These actions in Oregon tomorrow will be in solidarity with the large march and rally taking place in Phoenix, Arizona and those around the country.

These complementing actions in the political and cosmopolitan centers of Oregon will demonstrate the understanding that laws which seek to discriminate, intimidate, isolate members of our community are not democratic, and that our strength as a nation is based on the strength of our communities as a whole-- not the immigration status of individuals in them.

Together the actions in Portland and Salem, and those taking place in cities around the U.S. will demonstrate the determination of our civil society for justice and show off our nation's vibrant democracy.


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