NOT FAR FROM HERE

By Aleita Hass-Holcombe, First Congregational UCC, Corvallis, OR
dentention center tacomaDid you know that not far from here is one of the country’s largest for-profit detention centers in the country? Tacoma, Washington is the home of Northwest Detention Center, operated by the GEO Corporation.1

On March 7, 1200 people held at the center began a hunger strike and work stoppage. The hunger strikers join a nation-wide movement of resistance against unprecedented levels of detention and deportation. During President Obama’s administration nearly 2,000,000 people have been deported. To learn more about actions against deportations see the #Not 1 More Deportation web site.

The situation in Tacoma is only the tip of the iceberg.  What underlies this situation requires a look at the bigger picture of the for-profit prison system in America.  Profits of for-profit prisons are up by 500% from 20 years ago.2 $45 million on campaign donations and lobbyists have encouraged politicians to support the for-profit system. Unknown to most Americans, some states sign agreements to guarantee they will fill a certain number of beds in these jails at any given point? The most common rate is 90%.2  

ASK DARIGOLD TO OPEN THE DOOR!

By Linda Brindle
Kairos Milwaukie United Church of Christ, Milwaukie, OR
CPCUCC Representative Oregon Farm Workers Ministry Board (OFM)

darigold justiceDo you remember the stories of worker abuse at dairy farms that supply Darigold’s milk? For those who haven’t heard the story before, workers have come forward repeatedly describing conditions that include wage theft, unsanitary restrooms, lack of rest or lunch breaks, lack of water and mistreatment of workers. There are at least four dairies in Washington & Oregon which are accused of this worker mistreatment.

In addition there is also animal abuse at the Darigold supplier dairies. One worker tells that “The manager carries around a taser and he was electrocuting the cow so that she would get up. The cow screamed and cried with the shocks until one worker…told him to leave her alone; that they would take the cow outside.”1 In another story “The cows get milked with mastitis because we don’t have enough people to be able to milk right. You can tell that it hurts the cows a lot…because they (are)…very swollen from the (mistreatment) that they receive.”1

A NEED FOR WATCHING

by Aleita Hass-Holcombe, Corvallis United Church of Christ, Corvallis, OR
SOA WatchSchool of the America’s Watch (SOAW) is a grassroots, nonprofit founded in 1983, when the US-fueled war in El Salvador was raging. Each November, SOAW gathers at Ft. Benning, Georgia, to raise awareness that human rights atrocities in Central and South America are still happening. Those responsible for these atrocities can often be traced back to individuals trained at the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHISEC), formerly called the US Army School of the Americas (SOA).

In November of 2013, 1400 people converged at the gates of Ft. Benning. Sunday, November 24, was a commemoration of those who have died as a result of the far-reaching effects of SOA training. During that November weekend, SOAW held many workshops that focused on our culture of military violence.