Corvallis resident Brandy Barrett was sitting on her couch Sunday morning, January 29, when she decided she couldn’t sit any longer.
In fear and outrage over recent government bans delegated by the Trump administration affecting refugees and immigrants, Barrett decided it was time to take a stand in Benton County, and quickly created a Facebook event for a peaceful protest slated for the following day at the Benton County Courthouse.
“I made the event expecting maybe 15 people max showing up and I thought to myself that’d be a win for a show of support,” stated Barrett. But in less than 24 hours, No Ban Corvallis generated the interest of over 600 protesters in attendance that Monday, including state senator Sara Gelser and local independent Sami Al-AbdRabbuh—who each delivered powerful remarks.
Standing on the courthouse stairs, Al-AbdRabbuh declared, “Today we bend the arc of history. Today we bend the arc of the moral universe towards justice.”
“This is not a time for being polite,” said Gelser. “This is a time for doing the right thing.”
In her speech, Gelser urged residents to speak up against acts of discrimination and injustice and to keep attending protests and town halls—like the two this upcoming Saturday, February 4: one lead by Gelser, among other representatives at the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library, from 10 to 11:30 a.m., and the other lead by Senator Ron Wyden at the Linn Benton Community College’s art center/gym starting at 11 a.m.
Various citizens—some local immigrants and refugees—took turns on the mic, delivering impassioned, motivational messages. Barrett’s 9-year-old daughter, Juniper Roth of Lincoln Elementary, left the audience in tears, saying, “All [Trump’s] doing is making us incomplete, because something made him incomplete when he couldn’t just ask for help.”
Barrett’s already making moves toward another act of peaceful protest, and has created a march slated for Sunday, Feb. 12, with the idea of spreading love so near to Valentine’s Day. The march will begin at the Corvallis Courthouse at 3 p.m., and will continue to the riverfront where speakers will deliver remarks.
“I never want to be in a position where I don’t use my assumed privilege to help those with less, that to me would be the worst definition of who I could be,” said Barrett. “I want my grandkids to know that their grandma stood up for those who couldn’t.”
For further details on the Show Me Love march on February 12, visit the event page at https://www.facebook.com/
-By Lily Silver