Welcome to the ROP Board of Directors Slate for 2012-2013! It takes heart, passion and spirit to run the Rural Organizing Project and this year’s slate for our Board of Directors has all of that and more!
Read on to find out more about our 3 Cathy/ Kathys, who’s traveled to DC to meet with Rep. Walden’s office and who’s helped fill Rep. Walden’s office with occupiers back here in Oregon.
ROP member groups will vote on this year’s board slate at the Rural Caucus and Strategy Session on May 12th. If you haven’t gotten your registration form in for our weekend of activities in Woodburn, download a form and do it today! Please join us at the annual caucus.
2012-2013 ROP Board Slate
In even number years, even number seats are up for vote.
Region 1: Rennie Ferris – Newport
Region 2: Yesenia Sanchez – St. Helens
Region 3: Steve Milligan – Monmouth
Region 4: Cathy Rion- Hood River
Region 5: Frank Roa- Umatilla & Morrow Counties
Region 6: Kathy Paterno – Powell Butte & Central Oregon
Region 7: Patrick Vroman – Klamath County and SE Oregon
Position 8: Rosalie Pedroza – Turner
Position 9: Cathy Howell- Salem
Position 10: Margret Ball- Prineville
Position 11: Bill Whitaker- La Grande
Position 12: Arlene Amaya- Klamath County
Arlene Amaya- Klamath County
Arlene Amaya got involved with ROP at an Occupy Klamath Falls meeting in the fall of 2011. She then represented ROP on a labor delegation to Washington DC Occupy, then joined the Latino Advisory Committee and helped to plan ROP’s 2nd annual Rural Latino Leadership Retreat. Her smarts and passion for social change shine through. She says about small-town organizing “I appreciate Klamath Falls because we tackle things that can be accomplished locally. To me it’s more realistic – we probably can’t overhaul the entire system at once, but we can make changes by being effective and strategic.” She is currently pursuing a teaching degree and hopes to go back to rural El Salvador one day, where her parents came from, to give the opportunity of education to those who seek it.
Bill Whitaker- La Grande
Our very own Mad as Hell Doctor, of Social Work, that is, Bill has been a champion of social justice for over 50 years. As a welfare rights organizer in Ohio to co-founding the Wyoming Coalition for WIC, the Maine Coalition For Food Security, and the Idaho Interfaith Coalition on Hunger, Bill’s belief in a better world has led him from the university classroom to the community where he inspires students and fellow organizers alike to put their passion into action. Bill currently represents Oregon Rural Action on the board of Rural Organizing Project and resides with his wife Cheryl in La Grande, Oregon.
Cathy Howell- Salem
Cathy Howell just retired from the AFL-CIO where she has been a field organizer and leadership development coordinator since 1997. Before joining the AFL-CIO she spent over 20 years as a community and issue organizer in Oregon and in the southern USA. She grew up in a small Quaker State Refinery town in western Pennsylvania, and now lives in Salem in Marion County. She is passionate about social and economic justice and organizing people to fight for fairness and is looking forward to spending time post-retirement building and strengthening the human dignity organizing in Marion County.
Cathy Rion- Hood River
Cathy Rion combines her passion for justice with her faith. She serves as half-time Consulting Minister to the Mid-Columbia UU Fellowship in Hood River, OR, and lives in Bend, OR with her partner, the Rev. Heather Starr. She was the Young Adult Chaplain and Worship Coordinator at General Assembly in Charlotte in 2011. Cathy’s background is in community organizing for racial justice with youth in California. Cathy brings a passion for justice, relationship-building, and anti-racism to her ministry, as well as a love of music, chocolate, and laughter.
Frank Roa- Morrow & Umatilla Counties
Frank decided to return to his rural roots and family in the small Eastern Oregon town of Irrigon (population 1,702) as he faced disability at a young age. It was a good time to go home. As an HIV positive Latino, gay male in poor and rural America, he knew that if he wanted services, he was going to need to set them up. This became the start of Umatilla Morrow Alternatives – a vision turned organization that was soon featured in the front page of the areas largest paper.
Kathy Paterno- Powell Butte
Kathy has lived in Powell Butte, Crook County for the last three decades with her husband of 42 years, Phil. They work together for justice and peace in Central Oregon and are among the founding leadership for the Human Dignity Advocates, Crook County’s revitalized human dignity group. Kathy’s political awakening happened after 9/11 when “GW asked us to cheer up and go shopping, and then went on to manipulate our nation’s sorrow into a cause for war. He turned me into an activist – a raging granny!” Kathy was a member of the Central Oregon Seven, arrested for refusing to leave Congressman Greg Walden’s office until he listened to the testimony of his constituents following the People’s Co$t of War Townhall. Kathy has continued this accountability over the years and this past year she helped coordinate “Occupy Congressional District 2.”
Margret Ball- Prineville
Margret Ball brings her heart and humor to every thing she does. She is a longtime resident of Prineville, Oregon. While she might claim to you that she doesn’t like talking to people, Margret actually spearheaded her local group’s “Welcome Wagon” effort- tirelessly contacting and visiting every single member of the group in early 2010 to find out what issues they cared about, how they are doing in this economic crisis and re-connecting them to their local human dignity group. If you are new to the room at a meeting or event, Margret is right there welcoming you and inviting you in. This is true not only for people, but her collection of 13 cats represents her desire to make sure everyone has a home- whether for organizing and community building or just a place to lay your furry head.
Patrick Vroman- Klamath Falls
The ROP first met Patrick when he was just getting his activist feet wet with the Klamath Basin Peace Forum, challenging the war in Iraq. Since then Patrick has made a name for himself in his home county, helping to launch the Klamath Basin Lambdas and the Klamath PFLAG (Parents, Friends & Family of Lesbian and Gays), and always seeking opportunities to build relationships across the community to strengthen their local organizing for justice.
Rennie Ferris- Newport
What motivates a landscaper, rushing from job to job in Lincoln County, to put customers on hold so that he can drive 6 hours round trip to participate in hearings for the Oregon State Bank or hand deliver a Cost of War Town Hall dvd to his representative? Passion – Rennie leads with his heart. A brawny man, with the huge hands of a laborer, it is a rare meeting where he doesn’t make his point through tears and his points always connect the dots between issues and hold up the person furthest removed from justice. Rennie truly does live up to his signature as the “overcommitted volunteer from Lincoln County”!
Rosalie Pedroza- Turner
When you meet Rosalie, odds are that she’ll be proudly wearing the purple and yellow of her union, SEIU 503, where she serves on the board and has been a bargaining delegate in every contract since 1990. Rosalie brings her passion for democracy into the workplace where she organizes with her fellow workers and out into the public through her strong support for immigration fairness and global justice which has led her from rural home in Turner to Venezuela and Columbia as a fair trade delegate. In her own words, Rosalie has “found ways to reach out to her neighbors as never before, and organize around issues, not just parties, so we can begin to open people’s eyes to the extremes we are facing.”
Steve Milligan- Monmouth
Steve came to Oregon nearly 20 years ago by way of Texas and California seeking opportunities all along the way to organize for democracy and justice. Steve currently makes his home in the City of Monmouth, where he served as a City Councilor from 2003 through 2010 and is presently running for County Commissioner. Steve has worked in database management and in the printing industry, owned a natural food store, and manufactured herbal remedies. Steve is now going back to school to get an accounting certificate. He is dedicated to finding common ground among diverse community members, and looking for opportunities to build a stronger local economy. He is active with ROP human dignity group Polk Café Commons.
Yesenia Sanchez- Columbia County
Yesenia has two loves of her life: singing and organizing, but hasn’t put them in practice together yet. She is the daughter of Mexican immigrants who got involved with local organizing when she heard that measure 5-190 had passed in Columbia County in 2009 and became President of Latinos Unidos Unidos para un Futuro Mejor. With LUFM and the March for Dignity she learned about ROP’s work and decided that working with and organizing with Latino communities was her passion. She’s been involved ever since. Organizing at the University of Oregon in el Movimiento Estudiantil Chican@ de Aztlan (MEChA) a Chicano/Latino student organization, working with youth and her major in Ethnic Studies definitely set the background for her vision of social justice. She believes there is a link between organizing for social justice and caring for your community and that it is synonymous to caring for others and doing good in the world.