What do we do when our communities are under attack? Show up, fight back!

May 19th, 2017

Dear ROPnet,

This year’s Rural Caucus & Strategy Session in Madras on the weekend of June 3rd is shaping up to to be one for the record books! We have an incredible line-up of inspiring and brilliant keynote speakers, workshops, and strategy sessions, followed by the Rural Organizing Institute on Sunday. Join movement leaders and fellow rural and small town organizers as we dig deep together around how to create meaningful change in our communities.

The theme of the Caucus this year is Resistance and Resilience and we will spend our time together sharing and reflecting on the last year of bold organizing for racial justice, immigrant fairness, and economic justice across rural and small town Oregon, and strategizing for the year ahead! As the corporate controlled Right systematically dismantles safety nets and community infrastructure, many of us and our neighbors are going without reliable access to food, meaningful work, healthcare, education and information. How do we take care of each other? As the national plan to detain and deport millions of our neighbors rolls out, how do we organize to defend our communities against deportations? What do we do when our communities are under attack? We show up, fight back! Join us at the Caucus as we explore how rural communities around the state are doing just that, and learn together to strengthen our resistance and our resilience. Keep an eye out for a ROPnet with a more detailed agenda coming soon!

Have you gotten your registration in yet? Seats are filling up quickly, but we have saved some room for rural activists, organizers, and community leaders!

Please register and reserve your seats today!

Here are six reasons you will want to be at this year’s Caucus (in no particular order!)

1) Dignity in a Time of Crisis [_MG_1365]

Stephanie Guilloud, Co-Director of Project South, will share innovative movement building brilliance from the South and strategies for how we build community infrastructure that puts people first! Project South is an incredible Southern-based leadership development organization that creates spaces for movement building through popular political and economic education for personal and social transformation. Stephanie is an organizer with 17 years of experience and leadership in global justice work and community organizing. At Project South, Stephanie works closely with Southeast regional organizing projects, the Southern Movement Assembly, and membership programs. Stephanie worked as the National Co-Chair of the Peoples Movement Assembly Working Group of the US Social Forum from 2008-2013. She served on the board of Southerners On New Ground (SONG), a multiracial queer organization, from 2005-2014. Stephanie is the editor of two anthologies: Through the Eyes of the Judged; Autobiographical Sketches from Incarcerated Young Men and Voices from the WTO; First-person Narratives from the People who Shut Down the World Trade Organization.

2) Inspiration from Rural Oregon: Stories of Success

From county to county, rural Oregonians have been kicking ass! With everything from inspiring youth organizing in Central Oregon, to Gorge ICE Resistance standing in solidarity with hunger strikers at NORCOR in The Dalles, to thousands hitting the streets in small town communities after the inauguration… there are so many powerful ways folks are making things happen right here in Rural Oregon! Take a closer look at some of the impactful work already happening and take home ideas and inspiration for your group that will build energy, grow membership and build resilient communities!

3) Hearts Open and Minds Set on Freedom: Building Resistance and Alternatives Under a Demagogue

Tarso Luís Ramos is Executive Director of Political Research Associates, the go-to source for research and analysis on the U.S. Right Wing for social justice movement organizers. Tarso has studied and fought the Right for 25 years,
contributing extensive work on anti-immigrant, armed militia, anti-environmental, and Christian Right movements — as well as on the ideology of post-racialism. While many dismissed Trump’s chances of winning the presidency, Tarso warned that “establishment neoliberal politics” might not prevail over the potential “mass base for Donald Trump’s brand of bigoted nationalism.” Tarso is frequently quoted in mainstream and alternative media and is a highly sought speaker and advisor to social justice groups. He was founding director of Western States Center’s racial justice program and joined PRA in 2006.

4) Strategy Sessions on Resistance and Resilience

From organizing to resist deportations to standing up against neo-Nazi activity to mobilizing District 2 constituents to push back against dismantling the Affordable Care Act, rural communities are leading the resistance. We are also building communities of connection and resilience – from rapid response teams to radical Teen Book Clubs. How can we build local community resiliency that centers around human dignity and democracy for all? How might People’s Movement Assemblies help us develop infrastructure and resources to respond to this moment and take care of each other? These are just some of the ideas we’ll be engaging together in the Strategy Sessions at the Caucus! Will you bring your insights to these conversations?

5) Trainings for organizers of all experience levels at the Rural Organizing Institute

The Rural Organizing Institute is back by popular demand! Join trainers from across the state on Sunday in workshops focused on building up community resistance and resiliency, including:

Rapid Response Teams with Pedro Sosa and ROP’s own Keyla Almazan: Learn about how to coordinate a strategic response to potential ICE activity in your community through building an effective Rapid Response Team. Pedro has trained communities around the state, with varying levels of infrastructure, on how to effectively organize and respond to ICE actions to protect and support our immigrant neighbors who are impacted by the threat of detention and deportation. Come gain tools to strengthen an existing Rapid Response Team or to start one in your community.

Changing the Story: Messaging, Media and Communications for Justice with Angus Maguire: Ever wished for better headlines covering your events and actions? Or wished for news coverage at all? Do reporters always get it wrong? In this workshop we’ll go beyond press releases and protest signs to learn the basics of story-based strategy, a method for integrating organizing, action planning, and messaging, with some practical tips for relating to journalists. When we change the story, we can change the future!

Grassroots Organizing with ROP: The tried and true organizing tools and skills to build a movement (and your local group!). Together we’ll put together an organizer’s toolbox, including how to pull together a group, identify opportunities to strategically organize in your community, create a campaign, 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.

6) If you can’t dance, it’s not my kind of revolution…

ROP turns 25 this year and we cannot wait to celebrate with you! Join us on Saturday after the Caucus for music, dinner, relaxed space to connect with courageous organizers from across the state, and some special surprises! Building our resilience includes taking time to celebrate with each other and to remember all the victories, small and large. Oh, and last but not least, there will definitely be cake!

We can’t wait to see you there!

Warmly, Cara, Jessica, Grace, Hannah and Keyla

P.S. Registration packets with directions will be emailed out the week prior to the Caucus.