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Saturday rally to support St. Francis: PHOTOS

800 people attended Saturday's protest against the City for its harrassment of St. Francis of Assisi parish, and marched to the church from Buckman school. People had many issues and many ways of expressing them. Here are some photos, which speak for themselves.
Related story, about speakers at the school: 800 rally in support of St. Francis and Measure 28; against social service cuts

At the church, Pastor Valerie shared the good news that the parish had reached an agreement with the City that people can continue to stay on church property, with some minor restrictions. She led the congregation in a prayer of thanks.

Speaking with her afterwards, she told me that the negotiation process with the police over this issue was "tough". The police wanted no one on the premises at any time "without a purpose", but this runs contrary to the role of the church, which extends hospitality and welcome to people and has done so for years. Many people on the street have nowhere to go, and St. Francis provides one, though it's still not enough, and won't be for the number of people who will become newly homeless over the next few months as unemployment benefits expire and other social services are cut.

Pastor Valerie was careful to say that she is not "naive"; she knows that there are sometimes conflicts among the people who come to the church grounds, but she sees this as an almost inevitable result. You "can't concentrate people without chaos," she said, adding that "all human beings do this." Too many people and too few resources will lead to people "jockeying for space". (Extend that to the national/global level, and you're talking about War itself.) The parish tries to manage this chaos, but it is challenging.

Under the new arrangement, some areas are no longer available for people to gather, and one of them was the space that was used by the day laborers, who are Latino and some of whom interpreted the deal as racist. St. Francis clearly did not intend that, but it is understandable that they might feel that way, considering the state of U.S. society.

Pastor Valerie felt that "without the support of MACG, [the situation] wouldn't have gone anywhere." 11 other pastors came with her to meet with the police, and this show of power from the community had a real impact. MACG's strategy is power: bringing together people through their institutions to face the power of government with the power of people. In the case of St. Francis vs. the City of Portland, it worked.

Keep your eye out for more news about MACG organizing during the campaign to support Measure 28, which is on the ballot for a January election.

omission 10.Dec.2002 09:41

sometimes unconsciouslyI think the article ov

I think the article overall spotlighted a vey revelant issue and I give the author kudos. I also read the quote
"Under the new arrangement, some areas are no longer available for people to gather, and one of them was the space that was used by the day laborers, who are Latino and some of whom interpreted the deal as racist. St. Francis clearly did not intend that, but it is understandable that they might feel that way, considering the stateI think the article overall spotlighted a vey revelant issue and I give the author kudos. I also read the quote
"Under the new arrangement, some areas are no longer available for people to gather, and one of them was the space that was used by the day laborers, who are Latino and some of whom interpreted the deal as racist. St. Francis clearly did not intend that, but it is understandable that they might feel that way, considering the state of U.S. society. "
Then I looked at the pictures of all the white people holding microphones. I read their comments. I missed the comments from the latino day laborers.
-they might feel that way, considering the state of u.s. society-
of U.S. society. "

Then I looked at the pictures of all the white people holding microphones. I read their comments. I missed the comments from the latino day laborers.
-they might feel that way, considering the state of u.s. society-

the latino participants 10.Dec.2002 15:43

spArk

None of the folks from Centro Cultural spoke, or any of the other Latino participants, so there were no words to record or report.

this crisis knows no social boundaries 11.Dec.2002 11:16

speaker at Buckman school

This crisis knows no social boundaries. The hispanic people were not being slighted in the least. Yes there were alot of white people, but there were, blacks, WHITE PEOPLE, hispanics, gays, recovering addicts..need I go on. The idea was to bring the issues to light and do it peacefully. Lets not turn this into a racial issue. isn't there enough of that to go around??
We all chose to be there and some chose to speak, myself included, we were speaking of issues that affect everyone no matter what color they are. ROCK ON M.A.C.G>!!