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Raise voices in protest, but offer hands in love

Although we have said it before, it bears repeating.

The Trump administration policy of separating children from their families in the name of immigration enforcement, without exception or regard for circumstances, is evil. More diplomatic language only falsifies the reality of what is happening along our southern border.

Now is not the time to remain silent. Our children’s children will judge us for our complacency.

So, yes, raise your voices in protest and outrage. Let posterity know you stood on the ethical side of history.

While protesting makes people feel good, perhaps it makes them feel a little too good. Meanwhile, immigrant families need help they won’t get from even the most cleverly worded placard.

There are additional ways, perhaps even better ways, to help them beyond carrying signs and chanting noble sentiments. Lutheran Community Services and Unidos Bridging Community of McMinnville are among several organizations inviting volunteers to help immigrant families more directly.

Families who have lost loved ones to federal detention centers often need assistance with basic needs, such as food, rent and utilities. They may need transportation to and from school as well as medical and legal appointments. They may require translators and babysitters.

They definitely need witnesses. People in power must always be kept under the lens, particularly when that power includes the ability to accuse, apprehend and imprison.

Immigration and Custom Enforcement agents have been overzealous to the point of  running roughshod over civil rights. Look no further than neighboring Washington County, where ICE agents have run afoul with sheriff’s deputies and tried to detain American citizens.

Local groups such as Unidos, and broader groups like the American Civil Liberties Union, Willamette Valley Rapid Response Collective, Causa and the farmworkers union PCUN, have trained people to scrutinize ICE, but can always use more volunteers.

For those who wish to keep their actions local, Unidos Bridging Community is a positive place to start. As the name implies, the 6-year-old organization seeks to bridge, in a very real sense, the gap between McMinnville’s Hispanic and Anglo communities.

With all the hostile rhetoric these days about immigration, that gap can easily widen rather than narrow. It threatens to become an unbridgeable chasm.

That is a tragedy, as nearly one-fourth of McMinnville’s population is Hispanic, according to the 2010 census.

Many, if not most, of these people are second- third- and fourth-generation immigrants. However, as the history of the last two years shows, that’s not always a hedge against rampant anti-immigrant hatred.

Ours is a nation of immigrants, but that kind of hysteria is as old as the republic. There are many ways to fight it. Voices raised in anger is one way. Hands extended in love is another.

Helping our Hispanic neighbors, whether newcomers or long-established residents, sends a message more powerful than anything painted on a protest sign.

Comments

Lulu

Maybe the homeless could help babysit.

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