FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - TROTH RESPONSE TO PORTLAND TRAIN ATTACK

From: In-Reach Heathen Prison Services, The Troth
May 31st, 2017

PHILADELPHIA, PA: In the wake after the Portland, Oregon, train attack on May 26, 2017, it has come to the attention of In-Reach Heathen Prison Services that there are indicators that the alleged perpetrator came to Odinism while incarcerated. In-Reach is reminded of the scope of its mission and the need to engage more community organizations within and beyond the Heathen community in the face of the virulent form of racist Odinism that has taken root in many prison facilities throughout the United States.

Since its founding in 2011, In-Reach has striven to provide Heathen inmates with Heathen literature, correspondence, and visitation. In-Reach is an inclusive Heathen program that functions under the auspices of The Troth, which is one of the oldest and largest of the international Heathen organizations. 

In-Reach Heathen Prison Services is a long time supporter and advocate of inclusive Heathenry, which welcomes all Heathens from all walks of life regardless of skin color, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, etc. 

In-Reach condemns the actions of the alleged perpetrator as well as the mindset that breeds such hatred and violence. Racist groups within prisons often engage in bullying tactics to instill fear into inmates who do not hold such views, and the racists’ rhetoric and dominance cause them to be the Heathens most visible to the correctional officers, chaplains, and administrators, who often do not understand the dynamics at play. As such, the racists become who defines Heathenry in many of these facilities.

Horrific incidents such as the Portland attack underscore the need for In-Reach’s work. Our volunteers strive to show inmates that they don’t have to tow the line of hatred and racism that often comes with being in prison. 

This is a long and hard battle to fight and one that never ends; in fact, the racist elements are becoming louder and bolder. Thus, our efforts require us to have more community support in order to help the volunteers to serve the incarcerated Heathen populations better. We need to increase educational opportunities for chaplains and other prison staff to understand the difference where the faith ends and hate starts. 

We ultimately want to be able to bridge a gap to help both the Chaplains and inmates understand that they don’t have to give into the hate. There are other ways and they don’t have to follow the crowd. This is truly the hardest part of prison outreach. We will not give up and we will not give in.  

Our hearts go out to the targets and victims of last Friday’s attack. The alleged perpetrator brought shame to our religion and, in the eyes of many, to our gods and goddesses. This is unacceptable, and the rest of the Heathen community must actively stand against everything that the racist groups represent.

For more information on In-Reach Heathen Prison Services, please visit https://www.thetroth.org/programs-offered/in-reach.html

Mallory Brooks
Program Coordinator
In-Reach Heathen Prison Services

Robert L. Schreiwer
Founder and Elder
In-Reach Heathen Prison Services

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Some members have worked with

Some members have worked with Heathen inmates as far back as 2005 and beyond.