Are you ready for 2015? Before we jump into the New Year, let’s look back at some highlights from the past twelve months as we share the Best of 2014! From statewide wins to inspiring local organizing, we have much to appreciate, learn from and celebrate. We’d like to share our appreciation of a powerful network of human dignity groups, strong and visionary leaders, and a fabulous team of members and supporters for all you have done to make 2014 a year to remember.
Read on for highlights from the human dignity movement in rural Oregon in 2014….
Touring “Why Aren’t There More Black People in Oregon?: A Hidden History.” Over 600 rural and small town Oregonians show up to tour stops in Grants Pass, Redmond, Astoria, Newport, Albany, and Bay City to learn more about Oregon’s history of white supremacy and racially exclusionary policies. Local host groups discuss how to advance human dignity work in their communities, building up local organizing capacity and leading to the development of a racial justice lens at the forefront of organizing across the state.
Human dignity groups envision and participate in a statewide month of action. Local leaders from ROP’s Latino Advisory Board develop a plan for a statewide month of Action to say “Yes!” to driver cards and “No!” to deportations. Multiple counties participate, including a 7-mile walk from Scappoose to St Helens and simultaneous rallies in three towns in Yamhill County.
Keeping human dignity alive in 2014 Elections. Human dignity groups have a long-standing tradition of offering analysis and information during election cycles. This year, these groups distributed over 30,000 STAND Voter Guides in English and Spanish reaching community members and voters in 35 of Oregon’s 36 counties. The STAND Guide featured analysis of ballot measures, tools for selecting a candidate and strategies to address the Co$t of War.
Small town Oregonians stand up for safe and welcoming communities. When hate flyers were distributed in Albany, local leaders of the new human dignity group, CARE, jumped into action and passed a city council resolution. Motivated by a moral conviction to stand in solidarity with the #blacklivesmatter movement, several hundred march in Bend. These are just two of the dozens of stories of HDGs standing up for safe and welcoming communities.
We celebrate statewide wins. Since the founding of ROP (and even before then!), human dignity groups have been organizing for dignity for all – from LGBTQ rights to immigration fairness. This year we celebrate several long and hard fought for victories. Oregonians won Marriage Equality! Oregon Sheriffs were some of the first in the country to no longer honor unconstitutional Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) holds that held undocumented folks without charge, significantly cutting down the points of entry to deportation in Oregon.
Human dignity groups organize at the intersections of racial and economic justice. ROP and HDGs have a long history of organizing on a variety of issues, weaving a collective story of impact that crosses identity, geography and issue. Here are just a few examples of great local work this year… Leaders organize emergency response in Cottage Grove when local services fall short. Human Dignity Advocates in Crook County engage over 40 community members in a public forum on driver cards and dignity. Over a dozen groups in Central Oregon come together to coordinate racial justice and immigrant rights work in their region at a Regional Convening, and kick off an education series on Building Common Ground. After a living room conversation that explored the question, “What do you need to live in your community 20 years from now?” Josephine County leaders plan an education event with Walidah Imarisha that leads to a rural statewide tour. Attendees of the Caucus explore the intersections between foreclosures, emergency response and deportations, finding local organizing strategies that cut across issues.
We host a bold and exciting Rural Caucus & Strategy Session! Attendees at this year’s Caucus spent two days building cross-cultural relationships, developing organizing and election strategies across communities, and learning and practicing civil disobedience from leaders engaged in the national “Not One More” campaign. In addition, this was our first completely bilingual Caucus; participants could participate in the days’ events in either English or Spanish.
To look back at ROP’s 2014, you can find ROPnets and stories from the year posted on our website at www.rop.org. Thank you all for another wonderful year!