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Social Issues

Giving to the Civil Liberties Defense and American Civil Liberties Union

What civil rights, right? President-erect Donald Trump — who thinks the Bill of Rights is a crisp twenty — has already tweeted (tweeted, for Christ’s sake) that he would like to either jail people who burn the American flag or revoke their citizenship. For real? Likely we’re heading for one serious clampdown on civil liberties, with the biggest assault coming at our First Amendment rights of free speech, freedom of the press, peaceable assembly, etc.

It could get ugly quick, but there’s hope.

This is where Eugene’s very own Civil Liberties Defense Center (CLDC) comes in. Led by founder, executive director and all-around local hero Lauren Regan — who recently filed a class-action lawsuit for retaliation and excessive force against cops at Standing Rock on behalf of water protectors at the proposed North Dakota pipeline — the CLDC offers, among other things, legal advice and representation for social justice activists. The organization has also provided legal observers at local protests and training for youth activists and others.

So how is the CLDC responding to the coming era of Trump tomfoolery? “We’re gonna mostly be carrying on. We respond to community needs,” says associate director Charles Denson, who points out that the center also offers “know your rights” training for immigrant communities. “I imagine that’s going to be very important in coming years,” Denson adds.

“Since we have 25 years of legal experience from our attorneys, they’re able to respond to a request by community groups,” he continues, noting that the CLDC is stepping up its training and outreach in the coming months as the new administration transitions into office. “Hopefully this is a wake-up call to some people to be engaged, be more active and do proactive things to protect and support their communities,” Denson says.

You can learn more about the CLDC and donate through their website at cdlc.org, or call 541-687-9180. And don’t forget to throw something in the stocking for that other stalwart of civil liberties, the American Civil Liberties Union, which has a long history of defending Americans against unconstitutional nonsense; donate or become a member of ACLU of Oregon at aclu-or.org. — Rick Levin

 

CALC Acts Locally for Human Dignity 

Think globally, act locally: It’s the stereotypical faded bumper sticker here in Eugene, but it’s also enacted by one of the best nonprofits in town, Community Alliance of Lane County, commonly known around these parts as CALC.

CALC program director Michael Carrigan says “the mission of CALC is to educate and mobilize for peace, human dignity, racial, social and economic justice.” 

Since the election, CALC has created an “I Got Your Back” rapid response team to address hate crimes in the area. Its members pledge to respond “wherever bigotry is happening so none of our neighbors need endure bigotry alone,” Carrigan explains.

CALC is seeking volunteers to join the response team to keep Eugene and Springfield safe from hate crimes because, as Carrigan says, “the best way to fight the Trump agenda is by taking action.”

CALC also has been involved with a coalition of local organization supporting the Standing Rock pipeline protest, and currently they’re hoping to find a volunteer with some organizational skills to help plan events and coordinate efforts. 

Adrienne Bennett, CALC’s coordinator for major donor and volunteer programs, says that “what CALC really, really needs is people who are willing to plug in on the day-to-day level. We want people on the administrative level to help prep us for bigger rallies and other actions.”

“The whole campaign divided us on a lot of levels,” Bennett continues, “and the great thing about CALC is that CALC is about community.” She says she hopes to see Eugene “come together despite our differences to work for a better future for us all.”

CALC is a place for all kinds of people to work toward a better future for all. Carrigan says he welcomes everyone: the rich, the poor, the unhoused, the undocumented, “communities of color and working class folks who care about working for peace and justice.”

Interested in volunteering for CALC? Call 541-485-1755 to see where you can plug in. To donate, go to calclane.org/donate-to-calc to see a list of options. — Kelly Kenoyer

 

Miserly Billionaires Don’t Care about Poor People

Our billionaire real estate mogul-in-chief might be the stingiest billionaire on the planet.

Despite Trump’s own claims that he’s an “ardent philanthropist,” reporters at the Washington Post have been unable to locate a shred of evidence pointing to Trump’s charitable cash donations in any amount over the past five years. When Trump gives, it tends to be in the form of free rounds of golf at any number of Trump-owned courses or land-conservation agreements.

So unless Oregon’s homeless are avid golfers or secret real-estate gurus, it’s unlikely they’ll get much love from our next president.

Those looking to fill gaps left by the Trump agenda should consider supporting organizations that assist the homeless.

In Eugene, Community Supported Shelters provide what they call “safe spots” (commonly known as rest stops), replete with drinking water and porta-potties, as well as trash and recycling services. CSS takes a housing-first approach by putting up and maintaining four small, semi-permanent homeless encampments in which inexpensive Conestoga huts provide the unhoused with secure places to sleep and store their belongings so that they are better able to look for work and stable places to live.

Additionally, CSS-run rest stops provide residents with useable addresses, which are practically vital when you’re looking for a job.

The CSS website says the group will take building supplies, firewood and volunteers. More specifically, CSS says it could use: wool socks, blankets and sleeping bags, AA and AAA batteries, headlamps and flashlights, feminine hygiene products, 60-quart Rubbermaid totes, bleach, antibacterial soap, Bungee Cords and silver tarps in 10x10- and 10x16-foot sizes.

Cash is also a huge help, CSS says, as it is funded entirely by community donations. For more specifics, contact them at 541-683-0836 or see communitysupportedshelters.org.

The Nightingale Health Sanctuary is on a similar mission to that of CSS. Rest stops like those run by CSS and Nightingale have a proven track record of assisting homeless folks find stable places to live. Of the 260 people who relied on homeless rest stops last year, 55 moved to some form of permanent housing.

Nightingale has to relocate early next year. To find out how best to assist them in their move, write an email to nightingalecollective@gmail.com or see respectexistence.org.

With CSS and Nightingale working hard on long-term efforts to house the homeless, it’s important not to lose sight of the short-term needs of those who live on the streets. And really, once the weather turns icy, staying warm ranks at the top of the list.

Administered by St. Vincent de Paul, Egan Warming Centers are a collaborative effort that brings together non-profit agencies, religious organizations and community members to provide Lane County’s homeless a warm place to sleep when the temperature drops below freezing.

Egan centers open any time the mercury dips below 30 degrees between mid-November and the end of March, so long as there are volunteers to staff them.

Last year there weren’t enough volunteers signed up at first, which meant the warming centers couldn’t open for the year’s first frost. It was bad.

Volunteer trainings have already begun. See eganwarmingcenter.com to find out when and how you can get involved.

For those who haven’t got time to spare, the centers can always use sleeping bags, winter clothes, first-aid supplies and money. Oh, and warm socks! Socks are huge, says Egan volunteer director Shelley Corteville. — Ben Ricker

 

CAHOOTS and White Bird 

If we could replicate one local program in every city and county nationwide, without hesitation our choice would be CAHOOTS and the organization it is housed under, White Bird Clinic.

Prepared to respond to Trump’s dystopian realities with a visionary and pragmatic approach, the White Bird Clinic defines its mission as providing a collective environment organized to enable people to gain control of their social, emotional and physical well-being through direct service, education and community. 

According to the White Bird website, White Bird arose in 1969 from a collaboration of medical workers, graduate students and concerned citizens responding to “some of the fallout of the 1960s, which included a growing number of youth and young adults … many were runaways and living on the streets, and were not likely to access the usual services available despite their needs, among which were medical, legal, mental health and substance use.” 

Almost 50 years later, White Bird provides an umbrella of services that includes Lane County’s only 24-hour mental health crisis hotline, mental health counseling, a dental clinic, medical services and referrals, acupuncture recovery and detox services and more. 

White Bird is at the frontlines of social and mental health management for low-income and houseless populations. White Bird’s Ben Brubaker says the group hopes to expand its medical, dental and homeless case management in 2017. 

Founded in 1989 through a partnership with White Bird and the city of Eugene Public Safety, CAHOOTS (Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets) provides free, confidential and voluntary mobile-crisis-intervention. 

Responding to calls in Eugene and Springfield, CAHOOTS vans are easily spotted throughout town. Less visible, however, is the exceptional patient care, compassion and support CAHOOTS provides to people in need. 

Combining the skills of mental-health counselors and medical responders, CAHOOTS is uniquely positioned outside of the criminal justice system to respond to people in crisis. 

According to, Brubaker it is estimated that CAHOOTS responds to more than 13,000 calls annually. The growing need for CAHOOTS services is evidenced in its recent decision to expand services by operating as a 24-hour service in Eugene starting Jan. 1. 

With the coldest time of year upon us, your donation to CAHOOTS will support care for some of the most vulnerable populations in our community. If you are unable to contribute a monetary donation, Brubaker mentions that CAHOOTS appreciates in-kind donations of cold-weather gear, socks, blankets, hats, gloves, etc. To donate or find more information, visit whitebirdclinic.org/cahoots or call 541-342-8255.

And you can also donate to support and expand White Bird’s efforts. If you are unable to contribute a monetary donation, White Bird, like CAHOOTS, appreciates in-kind donations of cold weather gear, socks, blankets, hats, gloves, etc. To donate or for more information, visit whitebirdclinic.org or call 541-342-8255.

White Bird has temporarily given space to another nonprofit in need of your support, Occupy Medical (occupy-medical.org or 541-316-5743). OM’s all-volunteer crew gently offers everything from lifesaving medical care to haircuts that raise the spirits of those in need. OM is truly universal health care, turning no one away.

Eugene Weekly is collecting warm clothing for White Bird. You can drop it off at our 1251 Lincoln Street office. — Nadia Raza

 

Causa Oregon Promotes Immigrant Rights

Causa, Oregon’s immigrant rights organization, has been working double and triple time since the presidential election, Executive Director Andrea Miller tells EW

Prior to the election, the organization was slammed with assisting with voting registration and helping get out the Latino/a vote. Post election, Miller says they’ve “been busy convening our community leaders, our allied organizations and other organizations that work with immigrants and Latinos in the state to come up with and identify some policies at the state level that we can either reaffirm or expand … so that we can better defend the civil and human rights of everybody here in the state.”

Over the last three years, Causa has spearheaded legal proceedings and absorbed legal fees for 182 legal permanent residents and 250 immigrants seeking citizenship, and they’ve also helped 300 youth immigrants with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals applications. 

“DACA recipients are undocumented students who applied to a federal program created via executive order through President Obama — it provides relief from deportation and a work permit for a renewable two year period — and it’s one of those programs that the president has complete authority to enact or to take away,” Miller says. 

While President-elect Trump holds the power to uphold his mass deportation promises, Causa is fighting to ensure that people’s civil and human rights aren’t trampled on. Miller says people can take action by donating money to a local organization like Grupo Latino de Acción Directa (GLAD, facebook.com/latinocommunityactiongroup), or making time to volunteer with immigration nonprofits in your community. 

If you are an attorney, sign up for pro-bono cases on behalf of an organization of your choosing, she says. 

Lastly, encourage your church to become a sanctuary church, she says. The state organization Interfaith Movement For Immigrant Justice “is recruiting churches to pledge to be sanctuary churches so in case of a raid or in the case of somebody being pursued by Immigration Customs Enforcement they have a safe place to go,” Miller says.

For more information about Causa’s work and to donate time or funds, visit their website causaoregon.org. — Corinne Boyer 

 

Members of Huerto de La Familia and Beyond Toxics team up for a garden project

 

Huerto de la Familia

Trump’s vision of America looks monochromatically white, while Huerto de la Familia preserves immigrant traditions and feeds people. Chili peppers, tomatoes and beans are just some of the fresh vegetables planted and grown each year by Latino families with the help of longtime Eugene nonprofit Huerto.

This nonprofit borrows free plots of gardening land from area institutions and then opens that land up to farming for Latino families.

Donations to this tiny (two paid staff) but determined (400 families served a year) nonprofit helps pay for water, seeds and other gardening materials to support its Latino clients. 

“Basically, we work to help immigrant families to have enough to eat that is nutrient dense and also culturally appropriate,” says Executive Director Marissa Garcia. Many members who farm bring up seeds from Mexico and South America that aren’t always for sale in Lane County or would be too pricey to buy as seedlings. 

Garcia says the recent Trump election has put Huerto on the alert to have a better safety plan in place for immigrants as they garden outside in public spaces around Eugene.  

Their office also offers gardening classes and business start-up classes in Spanish. “We’ve seen a direct correlation between families in the gardening program become more involved in school and church. They feel like they get to have a voice there,” Garcia says. 

Donations can be made at the Huerto de la Familia website at huertodelafamilia.org.  — Jeslyn Lemke

 

Members of CAIR rally in Washington D.C.

 

Fight Islamophobia: The Council on American Islamic Relations

If you’re concerned by the alarming post-election rise in Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hate crimes and hate speech, consider donating to the Council on American-Islamic Relations

Founded in 1995, CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties organization. Often considered the ACLU of the Muslim community, CAIR is a nonprofit, grassroots civil rights and advocacy organization. Its mission is “to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.”

With the cast of Islamophobes in President-elect Donald Trump’s team, CAIR’s work is more important than ever. 

As a national organization with the closest affiliate office in Seattle, CAIR has responded to hate speech and hate crimes, as well as anti-Islamic and anti-Semitic legislation, here in Oregon. According to a CAIR press release, in the day’s following the election, the organization recorded more than 100 post-election incidents specifically targeting Muslims. 

Your donation to cair.com will increase CAIR’s legal capacity to provide free legal services for those in need, protect civil rights and promote educational services and social justice advocacy in the face of present challenges. For more information and to donate, visit cair.com. — Nadia Raza