In a world where political activism is often segmented by cause, never before has one administration unified such a diverse group of progressives, who together are activated and energized to stand up in solidarity with one another in the face of hate and greed.
Street Roots asked a few of the local organizations and individuals who are taking part in inaugural protests and rallies to tell us why they will be marching.
GET INVOLVED: Inauguration events in and around Portland
Don’t Shoot Portland
We are marching to show solidarity against racist policies and systemic discrimination that promote organized hate against marginalized communities. With the rise in hate-crime reporting, communities are working with #dontshootpdx to develop safety programming to build strategies against racially motivated violence.
ACLU of Oregon
We trained a team of volunteers to act as neutral observers of police interactions with protesters. We hope the presence of ACLU observers in their blue vests at events around the state puts everyone on notice that the First Amendment has defenders.
“Peaceful assembly and protest is at the heart of our democracy. It may not always be convenient or pretty, but we think it is powerful. Protest is:
• A means of expression when people feel unheard through other methods
• A beacon of solidarity and connection to people who resonate with the message of the protesters
• A way to spark conversations and debate about important issues
• An opportunity to form community and connections, which can lead to further organizing and action.”
– Excerpt from a November open letter to Mayor Charlie Hales from ACLU of Oregon
Portland Jobs with Justice
We are marching because: In times of violence and threat, good-hearted people are seeking connection and release. We march to be in community and physical solidarity with one another. Portland Jobs with Justice is co-sponsoring a concert on Jan. 20 with a goal of organizing the unorganized: to move and direct people who have been called into action after last November into trusted organizations. There’s something deeply spiritual about being in a space with music with hundreds of people, and with thousands of people on the street. We will need that kind of spiritual grounding to be effective in the coming months and years as we continue to push back against hate. That’s why we march.
Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters
I am joining my union in the Women’s March on Washington because the percentage of unionized workers has plummeted. There are fewer people protected by collective bargaining agreements, and this has created stagnant wages despite the rise of housing costs in Portland. Without collectively bargained wage scales that demand equal pay for equal work – African-Americans and women are the fastest growing populations in the Portland homeless community. This assault on workers’ rights means 73 percent of all welfare recipients are working families that can no longer afford to live in Portland. I believe strong worker protection is the best solution to our problems, and I am ready to march for this cause.
– Amber McCoy of Carpenters Local 1503
I am joining Oregon Wild in marching because I am not only concerned by the potential loss of women’s reproductive rights, but of anti-environmental policies that will harm people and the planet. After the march, I will be continuing my civic duty by meeting with Oregon’s lawmakers to share my concerns directly. I hope many others will too. One way to sustain engagement is through advocacy trainings, like those provided by Oregon Wild and other organizations. Demonstrating for what we believe in cannot end here. We will only be successful if we keep making our voices heard long after the marches are over.
– Tara Brown, wilderness coordinator for Oregon Wild
Causa, Oregon’s immigrant rights organization
We will march one week before Trump’s presidential inauguration as part of a national day of action to build community, celebrate our immigrant heritage and defiantly pledge to protect immigrants from hateful attacks and policies. We are marching to stand united for immigrant rights in Oregon by bringing together leaders from the faith, labor, business, and immigrant and refugee communities. We call on our local elected officials and leaders to do everything in their power to ensure Oregon is a welcoming state for all communities.
National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 82
I am marching with fellow postal workers because: As a letter carrier and lover of America’s treasure, the U.S. Postal Service, I am fearful that the Trump agenda will severely damage mail service and hundreds of thousands of living wage, union jobs. One of The Donald’s first agenda items is to freeze federal hiring. My labor union estimates that 15,000 letter carrier jobs would be lost each year. The only way mail could continue to be delivered is with a reduction in service – to five, four or three days a week. Or by eliminating at-the-door delivery and forcing residents to trek to “cluster boxes” blocks away from their home. Or by closing or reducing hours at post offices.
– Jamie Partridge, retired letter carrier
Basic Rights Oregon, LGBTQ equality
We are marching because: One of our co-executive directors is a queer Muslim woman from an immigrant family. A quarter of our staff are transgender; half of our staff are people of color. We reflect the communities we work in: immigrant and communities of color, transgender communities and communities outside the Portland metro. And the Trump administration threatens all of them. Now more than ever, our community needs us to be the first line of defense for LGBTQ justice in Oregon.
Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon
We are marching because: Extreme politicians want to shut down Planned Parenthood health centers, which would deny millions of people access to the cancer screenings, birth control, STD and HIV testing and treatment and other care they rely on. If these politicians succeed, it would be a national health disaster and throw our country into chaos. Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon will march to make sure every single politician knows that we won’t back down, we won’t be silenced, and we will not let these politicians attack our health and rights!
Oregon educators, a message from participating educators
We are marching because: Students are like our own children. We, as public school educators, feel a need to educate, inform and protect those students. We prepare to do whatever it takes to make sure they are safe in all conditions. As a new administration moves into office, we are obligated to defend those children, their families, the institution of fairness and equal protection, and the safety nets established for the betterment of those we care about – including the most vulnerable. We march to be their voices and our voice of equality in our schools and all of America.
– Deborah Barnes, Oregon Education Association member
350PDX, local chapter of global climate movement
We are joining inauguration weekend mobilizations to protest Trump’s hateful agenda and replace it with one that seeks transformative systemic change, one that is full of compassion and strengthens our community’s resilience, especially for those who are being oppressed. Deeply connected to this is our mission to ensure a rapid transition from fossil fuels. During the marches, we’ll join a “Climate Block” to raise awareness of fossil fuel threats here locally. Change always comes from people taking to the streets and then becoming active to create the change we want and need. Join us!
NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon
We are marching on the first day of this new administration to send a very strong statement: This isn’t just about reproductive rights. We acknowledge the need for inclusivity in our movement and are marching to unify against the hateful racist, xenophobic, homophobic, bigoted and sexist reality of the new administration. We march for reproductive self-determination for all people, including meaningful access to affordable, high-quality health care services. We march as a step toward unifying our communities to create change by centering the experiences and voices of those most affected.
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KNOW YOUR RIGHTS
If protesters believe their rights were violated, they can contact the ACLU at 503-227-3186 or visit aclu-or.org/help.
A training video on the rights of protesters in Oregon is posted on the ACLU of Oregon’s Facebook page.
Mobile Justice Oregon, the ACLU app to record police encounters, is free on the App Store or Google Play. User videos and incident reports are automatically uploaded to the ACLU of Oregon for review.