Saturday, September 11th marks the 20th-anniversary of the tragic 9/11 attacks, which radically reshaped the immigrant, refugee, Muslim, Arab, and South Asian experience in the US.
One of the organizations which founded Unite Oregon was the Center for Intercultural Organizing (CIO), founded in 2002 by Portland-area immigrants, refugees, and Muslims who gathered to resist the post-9/11 wave of Islamophobia and anti-immigrant discrimination. CIO’s founders organized a multicultural march and protest outside the federal building in downtown Portland to protest the unjust arrest of a well-known Portland Imam and community leader, Sheik Mohamed Abdirahman Kariye.
All of us deserve to be safe in our communities. But since 9/11, a powerful few have exploited public fear to profile, detain, and discriminate against Muslims, people of Middle Eastern and South Asian descent, and Sikhs. The same institutions have spied on Black organizers and separated migrant families.
That is why Unite Oregon keeps organizing: every member of our community deserves to be treated with respect and fairness, with no exceptions. Since that 2002 march, our organization has grown significantly, and we've continued to organize our communities to build power and achieve a more just world. We've worked to protect immigrants, refugees, and BIPOC communities by passing Oregon's End Profiling Act. We've enabled immigrant students to go to college by passing Tuition Equity laws. We've registered thousands of new citizens to vote so that our communities can have a voice in the political process. We've strengthened Oregon's sanctuary status and protected families from the horror of deportation and separation. And we've met the challenges of 2020 and 2021, supporting hundreds of community members struggling to make ends meet due to the COVID pandemic.
As we look back on two decades of our organizing, we are more committed than ever to fighting for racial, social, and economic justice. There's much more work to be done, and we can't do that without you. Join Unite Oregon and help us work across Oregon to build a unified intercultural movement for justice.