2021 Annual Report


RURAL ORGANIZING PROJECT

2021 ANNUAL REPORT


FOSTERING STRONG AND HEALTHY GROUPS, BUILDING RURAL LEADERSHIP, DEFENDING HUMAN DIGNITY AND ADVANCING DEMOCRACY FOR ALL

anti-racist demonstrators holding Black Lives Matter and other signs

BIG STATEWIDE VICTORIES MADE POSSIBLE by RURAL OREGON

Human dignity groups across 16 counties uncovered major legal loopholes that Immigration and Customs Enforcement exploited to use local law enforcement resources to detain and deport rural Oregonians despite Oregon’s Sanctuary Law. Together with a coalition of allied organizations, we helped draft the Sanctuary Promise Act that closes those loopholes to ensure that the federal government can no longer use local public resources to tear families apart. In July, the Sanctuary Promise Act was signed into law and went into effect.

In addition to the Sanctuary Promise Act, six key policies the ROP network prioritized because the will help rural communities move from barely surviving to thriving were successfully signed into law. After human dignity groups drafted policy, wrote letters, and met with elected officials, together we passed the Childcare for Oregon Act, the Oregon Energy Affordability Act, the Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act, and funding to expand broadband internet access.


BREAKING RURAL ISOLATION

ROP virtually convened hundreds of rural organizers and small-town community leaders for strategy sessions, the annual Rural Caucus, and living room conversations to develop local and statewide plans for the year.

screenshot of zoom caucus where we danced

ORGANIZING for SAFE & WELCOMING COMMUNITIES

Many new groups formed and launched campaigns to make local change out of the mobilizations for racial justice in 2020. Vernonia Equality & Racial Justice (VERJ) in Columbia County formed during roadside Black Lives Matter demonstrations to advance campaigns for racial justice. VERJ’s successes include working with the City of Vernonia to draft and adopt a resolution denouncing racism, discrimination, and police brutality against Black people, establishing a plan to educate city leadership on implicit bias and racial equity, and committing the city to collaborating on a bias incident reporting system.


In 2020, every county in Oregon mobilized to protest the murders of Black and brown people killed by police. In 2021, rural Oregon mobilized to respond to the murders of Black people by white vigilantes. After Aidan Ellison was killed in Ashland, the Truth to Power Club at Ashland High School hosted virtual anti-racism workshops and painted a mural at the school celebrating Aidan’s life alongside other prominent Black, Indigenous, and people of color who have graduated from Ashland High School.

vigil scene for Barry Washington, Jr

After Barry Washington, Jr. was murdered in downtown Bend, his white killer was immediately released by police with a minor charge of manslaughter. Central Oregon Peacekeepers and other groups organized vigils, rallies, and a successful campaign to push the district attorney to change the charge to second degree murder. When a local TV station put a video of the attack on their website against Barry’s family’s wishes, the Peacekeepers coordinated a successful campaign that asked advertisers to end their contracts until the video was removed.


When Creswell’s annual 4th of July parade was cancelled due to COVID-19, Proud Boys and so-called patriot groups announced they would hold their own parade and statewide gathering. Community leaders who spoke out received threats of violence and the mayor resigned after out-of-towners mobbed her home. A week later, the community of Cottage Grove learned the same Proud Boys were eager to march in their town’s annual festival’s parade. More than 100 business owners, service agencies, faith leaders, and concerned neighbors succeeded in convincing the festival’s board to exclude the Proud Boys with a heartfelt letter campaign declaring hate has no presence in their community.

NEIGHBORS SHOWING UP for NEIGHBORS

Central Oregon Peacekeepers, Redmond Collective Action, The Helpers, and Central Oregon Democratic Socialists of America teamed up across three counties and the Warm Springs community to distribute necessities where unhoused communities were camping and mobile distributions for people that were living more remotely. They expanded to provide showers, trash pick-up, and vaccination clinics and used their success stories to pressure elected officials towards ending the practice of clearing out camps and instead ensuring the health and safety of unhoused community members, from trash service to managed camping.


Led by multiple community partners and volunteers, the food pantry at our Community Building Center in Cottage Grove shared food and supplies with more than 1,200 people every month.

Many of the recipients are refugee and migrant farm-working families systematically excluded from other services because of documentation requirements, language accessibility, and cultural competency. This program has successfully raised awareness of these barriers and several local agencies have changed their practices, hired interpreters, and adapted to better serve the entire community.

sharing food and supplies at the Community Building Center

PRESERVING & SHARING RURAL ORGANIZING HISTORY

assorted planners with No On 9 stickers

ROP is transforming our records of powerful community organizing into an archival collection! These unique materials will be featured in a traveling exhibit celebrating ROP’s 30th anniversary next year, giving us all a chance to learn from 30 years of the ROP network’s victories while strategizing what we can accomplish together over the next 30. Reach out if you’d like to see this exhibit in your town!

ADVANCING DEMOCRACY OVER THE AIRWAVES

In 2021, we completed the second season of Rural Roots Rising, our monthly podcast and radio show that broadcasts on 20 community radio stations across the state. Rural Roots Rising features rural organizers and media-makers who are organizing to respond to white supremacist violence, climate disasters, language accessibility, and housing crises. Listen to Rural Roots Rising wherever you get your podcasts or at RuralRootsRising.org!

rural roots rising podcast logo

What is the

RURAL ORGANIZING PROJECT?

ROP’s mission is to strengthen the skills, resources, and vision of primary leadership in local autonomous human dignity groups with a goal of keeping such groups a vibrant source for a just democracy.

More than 80 human dignity groups and thousands of community leaders worked together to advance democracy in small-town and rural Oregon. From April 2020 to April 2021, ten Rural Organizing Fellows virtually convened to share skills, organizing strategies, and to build up their organizing toolboxes.

BAKER

  • Baker Community Justice Project

BENTON

  • Coast Range Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism
  • Disability Equity Center
  • Linn-Benton Greens
  • Linn-Benton NAACP
  • Linn-Benton Rapid Response Team
  • Mid-Valley Health Care Advocates
  • Mid-Valley Solidarity Coalition
  • Race Matters, First Congregational UCC
  • Street Outreach Response Team
  • Veterans For Peace, Linus Pauling Chapter 132

CLACKAMAS

  • Bridging Cultures

CLATSOP

  • Columbia Pacific Alliance for Social Justice
  • Indivisible North Coast Oregon

COLUMBIA

  • Columbia County Coalition for Human Dignity
  • Indivisible North Coast Oregon

COOS

  • Human Rights Advocates of Coos County

CROOK

  • Central Oregon Peacekeepers
  • Latino Community Association
  • PFLAG Central Oregon

CURRY

  • Indivisible North Curry County

DESCHUTES

  • Bend 4 Black Lives Matter
  • Bend Equity Project
  • Bend Indivisible
  • Central Oregon Peacekeepers
  • High Desert Peace Kitchen
  • Indivisible Sisters
  • KPOV 88.9 FM High Desert Community Radio
  • Latino Community Association
  • Peace and Social Justice Team of First Presbyterian Church
  • PFLAG Central Oregon
  • Redmond Collective Action

GILLIAM

  • NORCOR Community Resource Coalition
  • Rural Voices

GRANT

  • Grant County Positive Action

HARNEY

  • Rural Alliance for Diversity

HOOD RIVER

  • Columbia Gorge Women’s Action Network
  • Gorge ICE Resistance
  • Hood River Latino Network
  • Hood River County Rapid Response Team
  • NORCOR Community Resource Coalition

JACKSON

  • Peace House
  • Truth to Power

JEFFERSON

  • High Desert Peace Kitchen
  • Jefferson Positive Action Group
  • Latino Community Association

JOSEPHINE

  • Unitarian Universalists of Grants Pass Social Action Team

LAKE

  • Indivisible Lake County

LANE

  • Blackberry Pie Society
  • Church Women United
  • Community Alliance of Lane County
  • Deadwood Resists
  • Florence Indivisible
  • KSOW 106.7 FM Real Rural Radio
  • Springfield-Eugene Showing Up For Racial Justice
  • Support for Asylum-Seekers and Immigrants

LINCOLN

  • Acompañar
  • Coastal Network
  • PFLAG of the Oregon Central Coast
  • Lincoln County Progressive Project

LINN

  • Albany Peace Seekers
  • Linn-Benton Greens
  • Linn-Benton NAACP
  • Linn-Benton Rapid Response Team
  • Mid-Valley Solidarity Coalition

MARION

  • Silverton Progressives

MORROW

  • Oregon Rural Action
  • Rural Voices

POLK

  • Polk Folks for Human Dignity
  • Unidos Club at WOU

SHERMAN

  • Rural Voices

TILLAMOOK

  • Racial & Social Equity Tillamook
  • Tillamook Democracy Project

UMATILLA

  • Oregon Rural Action
  • Pendleton Community Action Coalition

UNION

  • Oregon Rural Action

WALLOWA

  • Safe Harbors

WASCO

  • Gorge ICE Resistance
  • NORCOR Community Resource Coalition
  • Protect Oregon’s Progress / The Dalles
  • Wasco County Rapid Response Team

WASHINGTON

  • Adelante Mujeres
  • Western WashCo For Racial Justice

WHEELER

  • Rural Voices

YAMHILL

  • Progressive Yamhill
  • Unidos Bridging Community

Download our annual reports as PDF files:

2021 Annual Report (pdf, 848 kb)

2020 Annual Report (pdf, 1 Mb)

2019 Annual Report (pdf, 465 Kb)

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