36 hours & 36 counties — ROP Caucus in Salem

The 2009 ROP Caucus ruled.

See our facebook page for more photos!

It was a whirlwind of fascinating ideas, transformative strategizing, & inspiring people. There was action, networking, resource sharing, learning, marching, dancing, and multi-organizational, multi-ethnic power building. 

Even The Oregonian got the message from our own dear Amy Dudley that people traveled from across rural Oregon, from Coquille to Irrigon, Walport to Prineville to represent rural interests in Salem.

Despite a rocky start that included logistical challenges and torrential rain, that couldn’t keep down the uplifting spirit that spider webbed its way across the two-day event. A fantastic 141 people from every corner of the state made the Caucus shine with possibility from start to hail drenched finish on the steps of the state Capitol!

We heard about the history of the economic crisis and critical resistance. We saw examples of innovative organizing from around the state. We marched on the Capitol to Stop the Wars at Home and Abroad. We strategized on a new economic structure for our state’s money. We learned about the realities and demands of Comprehensive Immigration Reform. We ate an amazing Salvadoran dinner to celebrate the victory of the revolutionary peoples’ party (FMLN) in the El Salvadoran elections. And we lobbied our Legislators to keep the Guard home and on other issues of democracy, justice, and peace.

All in 36 hours!

As Judy Ross, Albany Peace Seekers, said “(I’ll be taking back to my group )a renewed enthusiasm, memories of the great “co-workers for the cause” who inspired me, and definitely the power mapping tool,” (ask amy@rop.org what that tool is and how to use it in your groups!).

ROP heads out of the Caucus to do a little power mapping of our own.

We will be taking some time to plan our work for 2009 with the ideas generated at the Caucus. We are still sifting through our members’ brilliant ideas to affirm what you all found to be the most compelling for our organizing, but it is safe to say that whatever direction we go – building & exercising our power is our top priority!

One point of complete clarity was the standing room only crowd in the Systemic Change: Building a Peoples’ Economy workshop at the Caucus. This is an issue that you care about and that is slapping us in the face each day as we lose our social programs and homes while corporate profiteers make millions and seem to be above the law.

The economy is failing working people, rural economies are in the dumps, and we are ready for fundamental change. ROP is working to decipher what our role is in transforming the system into something that values rural and working people.

ROP will be asking for your thoughts and ideas on the future of our economic justice work in the upcoming weeks & months. Look for campaign proposals that flex our statewide membership might; this is a critical moment for us to fight together.

The Caucus was a great start – we are taking that energy, your enthusiasm and hope in times of crisis, into the rest of 2009!


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