As the word spreads about the counter-demonstration of the Tualatin Valley Skins (TVS) on Saturday, January 8 at 12 noon in Gabriel Park, community support is increasing. Fifteen members of the Ad-Hoc Coalition Against the Tualatin Valley Skins went door-to-door in the southwest neighborhood around the park on Sunday, January 2, and informed nearly 300 residents of the planned protest. Daren Nicholson, a student at Oregon Health Sciences University said, "We received overwhelmingly welcome and positive responses, with many people pledging to be part of a visible presence at the park on Saturday." |
The growing list of endorsers of the community mobilization include: Jobs with Justice - Portland, Richard Beetle - Secretary/Treasurer, Laborers International Union of North America, Local 483*, Madelyn Elder, President - Communications Workers of America 7901*, Bob Marshall, Organizer - SEIU - 49*, John Beaumont - American Federation of Teachers Local 3922*, Justice for Israel and Palestine, Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights, Islamic Center of Portland (also known as Masjed Assaber), Itihad: Middle Eastern Cultural Advocacy, CAUSA (Oregon's immigrant rights coalition), Portland State University (PSU) Progressive Student Union, PSU Women's Resource Center, Radical Women, The Bread and Roses Collective (feminist news and public affairs at KBOO*), Portland Women's Crisis Line - Industrial Workers of the World 650, Portland Chapter National Organization for Women, In Other Words Bookstore, Socialist Action - Portland Branch, Freedom Socialist Party, After Seventeen Years (prisoner advocate group), Oregon Peace Works, Portland Peace and Justice Center, Portland Alliance, and Adriana Martinez and Chris Leck - southwest neighborhood residents.
Marian Rhys, a coalition organizer, says the ad hoc group of feminist, civil rights, Jewish, labor, anti-racist, sexual minority, left and immigrant rights activists and organizations, are calling for a protest because "neo-Nazis threaten the rights and safety of people throughout the Northwest." TVS, affiliated with the neo-Nazi group Aryan Nations, has announced plans to distribute leaflets promoting bigotry throughout the neighborhood surrounding Gabriel Park, which is the center of the area's Jewish community and has the region's highest concentration of Muslims. The racist group promotes the ideology of white supremacy that targets Jews, people of color, feminists, immigrants, sexual minorities and communists.
"The counter-demonstration is a community event, a time for everyone who believes in human rights to come together. Our message is: let's work together for justice and equality and let the racists know that hate is not welcome in Southwest Portland or anywhere" urges Marjie Sandoz, a southwest Portland resident and member of Oregon Education Association Retirees.
"It's really dangerous that city officials withheld information about the planned skinhead activity until they had their own response organized. It undercuts the community's ability to organize and leaves them vulnerable. The city has a responsibility to share information with the community. The Ad-Hoc Coalition believes that people ready to take a stand for civil rights are the best antidote to displays of Hitlerism. But rallies happening a mile away sends these thugs the message that we're giving up the neighborhood to them for the afternoon. The absence of visible opposition allows Nazism to grow," says Jordana Sardo, former Freedom Socialist Party candidate for state representative in District #45.
Lindsey Schilling notes that "We need to respond to the rise of these would-be dictators with a counter-movement. It is the only way to stop them. Legislation can't stop them. The long history of racist incidents involving police show that we can't rely on the cops to stop them. They think that the anti-Nazi activists are the real threat to 'public order.' The police have discouraged people from counter-demonstrating, which leaves the neighborhood open to Nazis. I hope that the police will not try to interfere with the rights of protesters to free speech and to protect the area." Gabriel Park is located between 37th Ave. and 45th Ave. along SW Vermont St. and is accessible by Tri-Met bus #1. For more information and to get involved, call 503-516-6557 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
* For identification purposes only