That is a great question. Realistically, can we rely on these forces to protect what they have already not been protecting?

Probably not.

I believe in community self-defense, be it an anti-racist neighborhood watch, alerts for ICE raids (Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf has twice now alerted the community of pending ICE activity, let’s see Ted Wheeler do this!), or — like they had to do during the Holocaust — hiding people facing deportation. We know the conditions from which people have fled Mexico (rampant crime, corrupt police, ineffective politicians) are still present. Deportation for some is tantamount to a death sentence, so it is our moral obligation to protect one another from oppression.

The police and sheriffs often fail to adequately serve or protect marginalized communities as it is, so it would be ridiculous to entrust the Portland Police Bureau, which has Nazi sympathizer and WWII “memorabilia collector” Mark Kruger* as one of its police captains, with such a responsibility. Community organizations like churches have a moral obligation to step up in the name of community defense, and I applaud Pastor Mark Knutson for enacting a community safety plan within the Augustana Lutheran congregation in Irvington, Portland, where the church is ready to house undocumented persons in the event of a community-wide ICE action.

More community leaders — elected or not — should follow in Pastor Mark’s footsteps.

*read: he collects Nazi artifacts, which he claims he has for historic purposes only; I’ll believe that when pigs fly, so Capt. Kruger may be best suited to grow himself some wings.

Counselor, musician, sahajdhari Sikh. I left academia and journalism to go see 48 states and find God, learning more than I ever did in a classroom on the way.

Counselor, musician, sahajdhari Sikh. I left academia and journalism to go see 48 states and find God, learning more than I ever did in a classroom on the way.