Portland, Ore.-- It was standing room only at an Equality Assembly held at Rigler School in NE Portland on Wednesday evening. The Assembly was organized by Causa , Oregon's Immigrant Rights Coalition, Vecinos de Alerta, SOMOS, PPE, and La Iglesia de San Miguel.
Among officials attending the event included Oregon State Representatives Mary Nolan and Lew Frederick, Multnomah County Commissioner Judy Shiprack, Jill Gray, Legislative Aide to Senator Jackie Dingfelder, Logan Gilles, Chief Policy Advisor to Representative Michael Dembrow and Lt. Derek Rodrigues with the Portland Police Bureau.
During the evening, the audience and officials had the opportunity to hear personal testimony from fellow community members about issues deeply affecting their lives including the need to restore driver's license access to all Oregonians regardless of immigration status, the importance of passing tuition equity legislation so all students regardless of immigration status will have access to affordable higher education, the need to end local law enforcement's collaboration with ICE and support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) members of the Latino Community.
By the close of the evening, officials in attendance made a public commitment to help in the effort to pass legislation for Driver’s License Access Restoration and Tuition Equity, and to help end the Local Police/ICE Collaboration.
Oregon State Representative Mary Nolan expressed her admiration for those who shared their personal stories and told the crowd that she stands with them and will continue to work for human rights, healthcare for children, protecting access to programs for school children and to defend against workplace raids.
While Oregon State Representative Lew Frederick encouraged those able to vote to get active, contact their legislators and vote saying “Elections matter and if you don’t vote, we can’t get those bills passed in the legislature”. He finished by telling the crowd, “We need to have you involved and active and to help us make the right decisions to help your community grow-- to help the whole community grow.”
Multnomah County Commissioner Judy Shiprack added,“We fight for civil rights, we fight for worker’s rights, we fight for women’s rights, we fight for gay rights, we fight for the rights for children, for our right to vote, for our right to go to school, for our right to healthcare, and for our right to have a job to support our families.”
Yesterday's assembly is part of a statewide campaign to speak to local leaders and raise awareness about issues important to the Latino Community.
Causa, Oregon's Immigrant Rights Organization, is the largest Hispanic civil and human rights and grassroots advocacy organization in the Pacific Northwest. We work to defend and advance immigrant rights through coordination with local, state, and national coalitions and allies.