A Stripper and Pastor in Oregon Team Up to Raise Money for Children in Wake of Mississippi ICE Raid

A stripper at a well-known Portland vegan strip club and a local Christian pastor have linked up and joined forces to raise money for the children of families targeted during an immigration raid in Mississippi poultry processing facilities.

Dawn McCall, the dancer who has organized fundraisers for social causes in the past, and Reverend Adam Ericksen of Milwaukie, Oregon's Clackamas United Church of Christ discussed the initiative in a Facebook video on Friday.

In the short clip using the hashtag #SinnersandSaints, Ericksen said he and McCall were working together to "raise awareness and support for the children in Mississippi who were torn apart by the ICE raids from their families."

#SinnersandSaints Special Announcement to Help Children in Mississippi! T-Shirt Fundraiser!

#SinnersandSaints Special Announcement to Help Children in Mississippi! T-Shirt Fundraiser!Are you concerned about the children in Mississippi who were separated from their families during the ICE Raids? Of course you are! So are we. And we have a way to help.Join CUCC as we team up with Portland area strippers at Blu SYLM and the artist Lauren Seeley at Ahhsweetdeath as we help the children in Mississippi through a t-shirt fundraiser. You can purchase the t-shirt here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/715422214/teamblu-charity-t-shirtBecause the immigrant kids of Mississippi are #ourkids, too. Our future and their future are forever interconnected.We know this. Our strippers friends know this. And you know this. So we are teaming up for this t-shirt fundraiser. 100% of all proceeds will go to the Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance.We are each sinners and we are each saints. We rise up together to help #ourkids in Mississippi.We invite you to rise up with us! Click on the following link and purchase a t-shirt. Together, we sinners and saints will make a difference for #ourkids.You can purchase the t-shirt here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/715422214/teamblu-charity-t-shirt

Posted by Clackamas United Church of Christ, Milwaukie, OR on Friday, August 16, 2019

"As an atheist, I know it seems super weird that strippers would do anything with the church for any reason," McCall, also known as Blu Dawn, said in the video. "However, this is Portland and we keep it weird."

The pair said they decided to start an initiative together called the "Our Kids Charity Campaign," because, as McCall put it, they felt "pretty devastated over what was happening."

McCall got involved after a former coworker—who is also an artist—asked her what they could do to help the parentless immigrant children. The coworker, Lauren Seeley, created an image for t-shirts and postcards which are now available online. All proceeds from the sales, as well as other donations, will go to Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance.

Latest updates about the immigration raids: we've been in emergency response mode since last Wednesday. A long and complex legal process looms ahead for those involved in the raids. Your support matters now more than ever. Read more: https://t.co/sWYWtGe6Yv pic.twitter.com/oWcfcqqYe3

— MS Immigrants Rights (@MIRAStruggle) August 13, 2019

According to The Oregonian, Ericksen told the paper on Friday he has encouraged his congregants to donate to the cause. McCall will also host charity events with other sex industry workers as part of the local efforts for the campaign throughout the next two weeks.

The effort comes after ICE agents arrested nearly 680 undocumented immigrants at seven poultry processing facilities in Mississippi earlier this month. Less than half of those arrested were released later this month.

ICE officer
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) special agent preparing to arrest alleged immigration violators at Fresh Mark, Salem, June 19, 2018. (Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

Some children whose parents were detained last week still do not have at least one parent with them, a Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services spokeswoman said Thursday.

Bryan Cox, an ICE spokesman, said he was unable to address assertions that children were without at least one parent unless the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services released specific names.

"There are countless children in Mississippi who have a parent currently incarcerated due to their parent being arrested. The reality is, adults with children are arrested by law enforcement agencies in Mississippi every day—and every arrest by any law enforcement agency, by definition, 'separates' a person from their family," Cox said on Friday.