Statement from End Deportations Now Collaboration
Statement from the End Deportations Now Collaboration, organizers of the October 11th lock-down action at the ICE building in Portland, Oregon.
Blocking the bus was a direct intervention to stop the deportation of the people on the bus, and to inspire on-going, strategic, escalated, creative actions in Portland. We know that taking coordinated action to physically block a deportation bus was one moment in the long fight for immigrant justice and against law enforcement brutality. It is a moment that we intend to build on.
Immigration justice organizers have put decades of work into advocating for Portland to be a sanctuary city, and our action was part of the demand that this can never be a sanctuary community as long as ICE has a presence in our town.
This action was organized as thousands of local youth learn that their status will be revoked when DACA expires, as an overwhelming number of Portland area community members are being taken to deportation, as 11 million people nationwide are being used as pawns in the national political game that promises a basic path to citizenship for a few undocumented immigrants at the expense of everyone else, and as people’s well-being is traded for massive militarization spending.
In this climate, our action was a call for people with documents and more secure status to join the struggle for immigration justice, to directly support the long term resistance of the immigrant community, and organize to intervene in systems that harm our communities.
The police, DHS, ICE, and all other law enforcement support the system of raids, deportations and violence that destroys communities. Their actions of hooding and ear muffing people locked into a barricade Wednesday, October 11th are not unfamiliar and are in line with the police’s approach of creating a climate of intimidation for organizers and activists. Homeland Security claims that the hoods and ear muffs were for protection of those locked down, but Homeland Security has never and will never protect us.
The hoods and ear muffs were an intimidation tactic and a threat intended to mute resistance. But, also, the truth is that those props did not physically hurt anyone in the barricade. This difference matters. This is significant. This was not torture. People who are incarcerated are tortured, are mentally, physically and emotionally harmed, are ripped from their families, and face extreme penalties just for existing. People in detention, in prison, people of color in our communities face actual death and torture.
We don’t take that lightly or claim that experience.
It is clear that law enforcement is trying to remind us of torture as a method to cool participation in the movement for justice and liberation. We won’t be cooled, we won’t accept their threats, and we won’t claim that what we faced in those hoods was torture.
Everyday folks organizing
This action was not heroism.
This is good organizing. This is privilege. This is boldness. This is the least we can do as documented people who are committed to working for justice and liberation.
This action was organized by everyday people, long time community organizers, people with full time work and families. It was small, simple, yet powerful. It was built from examples of people of color taking calculated risks, building creative resistance, and putting their bodies on the line. It was imagined thanks to comrades of color asking that people with documents use our privilege in escalated ways to stop deportations. It is part of the long history of interventions that make a difference in the lives of those most directly affected.
We were inspired by and give credit to our comrades in Tacoma with the Northwest Detention Center Resistance, our comrades on the inside, our comrades leading the struggle for real immigration justice, real sanctuary. We know and see evidenced in our action that the mainstream media offers extensive coverage to the work of white organizers and activists. We are using this coverage to elevate those who made the path we are walking and to redirect attention to the ongoing work that makes our organizing possible.
Call to Action
Now is the time for savvy, grounded, creative actions that disrupt deportations and the day to day operations of systems of destruction. In order to move beyond symbolic action, consider how to make material difference, and to intervene directly in the systems causing harm.
Connect and be a part of the ongoing movement. This is not about being out front, this is about being a part of something bigger than ourselves, building connected movements with clear targets, and having an impact. We encourage everyone to support organizations led by people of color and immigrant justice organizations that have for decades been doing the work of community defense and movement building.
We commit to this with you. As long as people are at stake, as long as this system continues to generate profit from injustice, we will be back. We are committed to strengthening the movement for ongoing, escalated, and emboldened action.