Rural Caucus & Strategy Session – this weekend!

May 17th, 2018

Dear ROP,

The biggest weekend for ROP is almost here: rural Oregonians are converging in The Dalles to reflect, plan, and celebrate together at the annual Rural Caucus and Strategy Session! If you have not registered yet and plan on coming, please register here so we can be sure to have enough meals and materials ready for everyone.
Below you’ll find the full agenda for the Caucus, including details about all the exciting strategy sessions and skillshares planned throughout the day, and the informal opportunities to eat, celebrate, and connect with the incredible organizers!

This year at the Caucus we’ll have a political art space with supplies and stencils available to make signs, posters, banners, or t-shirts. Bring a t-shirt, poster board, sheet, or other material for a banner, sign, or clothing you’d like to transform into your own rural resistance artwork to take home with you!

Friday, May 18th

Statewide Solidarity Action in Solidarity with Hunger Strikers at NORCOR (begins at 5PM): Rally in solidarity with immigrants and refugees detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and held at NORCOR, the regional public jail. Several hunger strikes inside the jail have led to some changes in conditions, but the primary demand has not been met yet: to end the ICE contract with NORCOR. Join us for the action and a community dinner where we will share strategies to defend our rural communities against detentions and deportations.

Community Dinner (6:30-8:30PM): Following the NORCOR action, join us for a community dinner where we will share about local organizing to end the contract with NORCOR, hear messages and stories from hunger strikers and immigrants and refugees detained at NORCOR and hear from our keynote speaker, Maru Mora-Villalpando, NW Detention Center Resistance organizer, about the connections between the work at NORCOR and the larger movement to resist deportations and detentions. Let’s kick off our Caucus weekend with a community meal, a great keynote and an opportunity to break bread together.

Saturday, May 19th
Rural Caucus & Strategy Session Agenda

8:00AM: Registration & Breakfast

9:00-9:20AM: Making Change in the Time of Trump: Welcome and Opening

9:20-10:10AM: Good Morning Oregon! A morning talk show featuring organizing from across rural Oregon!

10:20-Noon: Strategy Sessions I

  • Wall Street Forestry: Who Owns Rural Oregon?
  • Join Chuck Willer with Coast Range Association and Bob Heilman, author of Overstory: Zero: Real Life in Timber Country, for a strategy session on how grassroots activists and organizers can research Wall Street’s ownership of our communities, who profits from creating scapegoats for rural Oregon’s economic woes, and how we can change the conversation in our communities about the economy, taxes, and how we all do better when we all do better.

  • Dismantling the Systems of Detention & Deportation
  • Strategize with communities across the Northwest who are pushing back against detentions and deportations at every level, including rapidly responding to ICE activity, supporting hunger strikes of ICE detainees inside and outside of detention facilities, and shutting down county jail contracts with ICE.

  • Oregon Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival
  • Oregon is one of 41 states engaging in the re-ignition of the 1967 and ‘68 Poor People’s Campaign, co-led by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King and poverty workers and people living in poverty across the country. Oregon is recruiting and training 1500 people from across our state to train in Nonviolent Moral Civil Disobedience to support building power for justice across our state. Come learn more!

  • Social Justice in Schools
  • Educators, students, and school board members across Oregon are working to make their schools and communities safe and inclusive, and many are experiencing backlash, retaliation, and suppression for “not remaining politically neutral”. This strategy session will explore how we can build a culture of exploration and diversity of ideas in educational spaces and schools, and brainstorm how educators and students across rural Oregon can network to support each other and break isolation.

    Noon-1:30PM: Lunch

    Healing Justice Activities

  • 12:10PM: Breathing Exercise
  • 12:35PM: Attunement Exercise
  • 1:15PM: Singing
  • 1:30-3:00PM: Rural Organizing Skillshares

  • Immigration 101: Introduction to the Complex US Immigration System or “why can’t people just get legal?”
  • Join us to dive into how the US Immigration system works, including the different ways people immigrate to the US, immigration agencies and their distinct roles in imprisoning parents and separating families, and the changes we’re facing under the current administration and threats to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). We’ll also take a look at ways local communities can engage and organize to support immigrants and refugees by working on issues like local ID cards, accompaniment, and jail policies.

  • Watchful Hospitality: Modeling Grassroots Community Care
  • How can we create a culture of safety and security while putting our small town values into practice? Join Rapid Action Community Response from Benton County to dig into strategies and tactics to keep our people safe as we organize and build beloved community!

  • Rural Organizing for the Long Haul
  • The tried and true organizing tools and skills to build a movement (and your local group!). How to pull together a group, look at your community, find opportunities, and the tactics you’ll need to organize for change! All the nuts and bolts of organizing, from successful one-on-one conversations to leading a good meeting.

  • Architecture of a Campaign: Getting ICE out of NORCOR
  • Meet some of the leaders behind the campaign to get Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) out of NORCOR! Hear about the different strategies and tactics used to support the organizing of hunger strikers inside NORCOR and to end all relationships the jail has with ICE. Learn more about the components of this kick ass campaign: what has gone well, what has been challenging, and what lessons were learned along the way.

  • Practicing Mutual Aid: Collective Healing in Political Spaces
  • Following in the tradition of mutual aid, healing justice spaces are an opportunity to practice collective healing in political spaces in our day-to-day work and in moments that require a rapid response, like when ICE detains one of our neighbors or during a wildfire. Come learn and share about the philosophy behind healing spaces and the process for setting them up!

    3:00-3:15PM: Break & Snacks

  • Energy Building Activity
  • 3:15-5:00PM: Strategy Sessions II

  • Dignity & Democracy: Strategic Interventions in Local Elections
  • How can we strategically use local elections to advance our values and win on our issues? Hear from folks organizing around immigrant justice, from national campaigns to statewide strategies. Let’s talk about IP 22, a ballot measure that would repeal Oregon’s Sanctuary law if passed. We will strategize together on strategic interventions in elections that builds our movement for the long haul.

  • Resistance and Resilience in the Face of White Nationalism
  • White supremacist activity is spiking across Oregon, from white supremacists flyering communities and disrupting social events to a neonazi operated business moving onto Main Street Cottage Grove. Join community members from across Oregon to share strategies to collectively respond in our communities and across the state, and brainstorm community political education resources to turn crisis into an opportunity to build stronger communities rooted in the best of our small town values.

  • Building Power Across Rural and Small Town Faith Communities
  • Rural and small town faith communities know that our spaces are often gathering places for folks hungry to practice justice, demonstrating what it means to love our neighbors by feeding people, providing sanctuary, and building community. Many of us learned how to do outreach, activate a phone tree, hold an effective meeting (all organizing skills!) in our places of worship. Together we will talk about how we are taking action, bringing new folks into the movement for justice, and building power to support each other across the state!

  • Connecting the Resistance: Libraries, Rural Broadband, & Rebuilding Infrastructure
  • Providing more than “just books,” our libraries serve as hubs of information, community building, and survival. They are central places of connection, from access to the internet for folks to creating safe and supportive spaces for young people to gather. Throughout rural Oregon, many of our libraries are threatened or closing from loss of funding. Join us to discuss strategies for organizing to save our libraries and other key community infrastructure, rebuilding when all else has failed, and sharing funding resources that don’t compromise our values.

    5:00-5:30PM: We Will All Get There Together! Closing Reflections

    5:30PM: Dinner, Music, Games, and Radical Relaxation!

    Sunday, May 20th

    2nd Rural People’s Movement Assembly (9AM-1PM): Join groups from across the state that are rapidly responding to crises in their communities–from vigilante and state violence to climate disasters– to share strategies, tactics, and structures. Click here to learn more about the first People’s Movement Assembly on Rural Rapid Response! We will build off of lessons learned and ideas generated at the 1st Rural PMA and yesterday’s Caucus to strengthen our rapid resistance work in rural Oregon for the next year to come!

    If you have not registered yet and plan on coming, please register here so we can be sure to have enough meals and materials ready for everyone!

    See you this weekend!

    Hannah and the ROP Team