True North march for immigrant rights, May 1, 2016. File photo by Jason Cseh.

Press release from the True North Organizing Network:

True North Organizing Network (True North), in partnership with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Northern California, soft launched a Rapid Response Hotline today to respond to threatened Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) activity in the region. Humboldt County residents who notice ICE operations are encouraged to call (707) 282-5226 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The phone call will activate community volunteers who have been trained to observe and witness ICE raids, wherever they may take place.

Since May 2017, True North leaders and staff have partnered with the Northern California chapter of the ACLU to build a Rapid Response Network to respond to heightened fears of ICE raids on the North Coast. So far, more than 50 local leaders comprise the Response Team, and have been trained to respond if unforeseen ICE activity is reported and verified in Humboldt County.

“If we would have had this Rapid Response Hotline when the ICE raid at Sun Valley Farms occurred, we would have seen a very different outcome,” True North leader and one of the Sun Valley Seven (name not used for the protection of her identity). “With our current situation of immigrant families being torn apart and targeted, this is an urgent matter. Where else can we call for help?”

She stressed the importance of the hotline as a tool for immigrant families, and offered assurance that reports would remain confidential. In addition to dispatching volunteer responders during an incident, True North Organizing Network will provide training for residents of Humboldt County who want to accompany victims of immigration raids through the legal process. This includes legal resources, moral support, and helping families navigate the processes and stress of an immigration enforcement action.

“Many of us are watching the public erosion of basic human decency, and keep wondering how we can put a stop to the trend. This is one small, simple way: be there for our neighbors in crisis and just show up, one human being looking out for another,” said Brenna Silbory, True North Rapid Response Network Design Team member. “We all know that when Humboldt pulls together on behalf of our own, it’s a beautiful thing.”

Immigrant residents make up a vital part of our local community, and deserve to be treated with dignity. True North Organizing Network encourages all community members who want to stand in solidarity with our immigrant neighbors to participate in a free Observer and Know Your Rights Training on Saturday, January, 27, 9am - 12pm at the Arcata United Methodist Church, 1761 11th Street, Arcata, in the Sanctuary. Visit www.truenorthorganizing. for more information about the Humboldt Rapid Response Network.