Help Pass the Oregon Worker Relief Fund 

Dear friends,
This week we continue to adapt to this unknown era of social distancing, holding a complex balance of grief, anxiousness, supportiveness, and solidarity with one another. As the pandemic further jeopardizes the health and safety of our communities, our movement is radically imagining ways for us to advocate for our most impacted community members from our homes. Now is the time to use these new tools to ensure our immigrant communities receive the support they deserve. 
If you, like us, have been looking to the arts to try to untangle our feelings, we recommend T. Cole Rachel’s How to Write a Poem. It’s a quick, fun read. Don’t be afraid to send us your poems if you want to share with the IMIrJ community (or maybe just IMIrJ staff). 
Last week we put out an emergency call to push for the Oregon Worker Relief Fund (OWRF), a policy that would provide financial support to undocumented Oregonians who do not qualify for the federal stimulus package. Due to the collective efforts of the IMIrJ community and our partner organizations, OWRF was included on the recommendation for the legislation currently undergoing review (woot!). This is an incredible accomplishment, but we still need your help to make sure it is included in the final emergency legislation! 
Below is a little more information about how we got here and what the next steps are to make sure OWRF passes in a timely manner! 


Ways that you can support: 
  • Call Governor Kate Brown to ask her to support OWRF and to let her know that vulnerable communities cannot wait weeks for relief. A bill to support Oregonians should be passed as soon as possible. You can reach her office at (503) 378-4582 or write her using this link. Bellow we included a script to use when reaching out to Governor Brown and legislators:
  • Dear (name of legislator/Governor Brown), I am__(name)____ and live in ___(town)____. I belong to ___(faith community)_. I am contacting you in support of the Oregon Worker Relief Fund (OWRF) and ask that you ensure emergency legislation passes as soon as possible. Vulnerable Oregonians can’t wait weeks to receive support from our state. This pandemic has brought to light a truth that my faith has taught all along: Our lives, health, and wellbeing are interconnected. It’s reminding us that we must care for all we encounter in our path because, in doing so, we are caring for ourselves. I write to you today to ask that, as you consider legislation to provide needed relief to Oregonians, you champion our immigrant communities. As COVID-19 continues to ravage low-wage employees, we continue to see a high level of unemployment in the communities we serve, which has had immediate impacts, such as housing and food insecurity. Many contributing immigrant Oregonians have lost their jobs--and thus their wages--because of the pandemic and have no access to any wage replacement program such as Oregon's Unemployment Insurance program. We want to ensure that workers who are not eligible for Unemployment Insurance benefits are included in any emergency package that the state passes. Thank you for your hard work and leadership in these times. I am holding you, leaders across Oregon and all people affected in prayer. 
  • Call your legislators: Our legislators need to hear from us. Reach out to your legislators today and tell them to support the OWRF. You find your legislator and their contact information here. Use the script above to guide you if you need inspiration! In addition to calls, we are also exploring other tactics and ways to make sure our legislators know the importance of OWRF- for Oregon families, faith communities and our community overall. For example, IMIrJ leaders in Central Oregon are requesting a virtual meeting with their legislator, Senator Knopp, and we’re looking at expanding this strategy with IMIrJ leaders in other key legislative districts. 
  • Boost our Clergy Sign On Letter. Within a matter of days, we collected over 200 signatures from Clergy across Oregon. The speed at which we received these responses is incredible. We want to show how many of our faith communities deeply care that immigrant Oregonians can access needed support. We will send the letter to legislators within hours of a legislative session beginning. Share this letter with your Clergy leaders if they have not signed!

Thank you so much for continued work and commitment. Please take care of yourselves and your community! 
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