Drum roll please… the 2016 ROP Board Slate!‏

April 15th, 2016

Dear ROPnet,

Every year we introduce the current slate of those who have stepped forward to serve on the Board of Directors of the ROP. The Board meets throughout the year on weekends, hosted by different human dignity groups who also feed and house us. Our Board of Directors is made up of human dignity group leaders from different areas around the state, critical to an organization run by and for rural Oregonians. Some are new to organizing, others are veterans, and all make a commitment to shape and oversee ROP’s work for the years to come.

Below you will see the seats and biographies of the 2016 Board Slate. At the Rural Caucus & Strategy Session in Bend on May 14th, each human dignity group will be given a ballot to vote on the Board Slate, and there will be multiple opportunities to meet and think alongside the leadership team in person!

If you have questions or comments, please feel welcome to email ROP Board Chair, Bruce Morris at brucem.bam@gmail.com.

Warmly, Cara

2016 ROP Board Slate
In even number years, even number seats are up for vote.

Regional Seats
Region 1: Dancer Davis – Douglas County
Region 2: Joe Lewis – Columbia County
Region 3: Darcy Bedortha – Crook County
Region 4: Cathy Howell – Marion County
Region 5: Alex Budd – Josephine County
Region 6: Wix Covey – Baker County
Region 7: Position to be filled

At-Large Seats
Position 8: Hannah Sohl – Jackson County
Position 9: Bruce Morris – Bend, Deschutes County
Position 10: Position to be filled
Position 11: Josefina Riggs – Redmond, Deschutes County
Position 12: Position to be filled
Position 13: Position to be filled

Darcy Bedortha – Crook County

Darcy describes herself as an advocate for the empowerment of young people (all people, really), for meaningful education, social justice and sustainability. She is grateful for having a multitude of experiences and opportunities and is committed to bringing what she has learned back to her community, which sometimes is national, or even global, but always is rooted with her family in Crook County. Darcy is active with many like-minded organizations including Human Dignity Advocates of Crook County, Central Oregon Social Justice Center and Central Oregon Strong Voice. She is also a community organizer for the Institute for Democratic Education in America. It is not uncommon to find Darcy with several younger folks new to organizing at all kinds of gatherings around Central Oregon.

Alex Budd – Josephine County

Alex first came to Oregon several years ago from Colorado, where he grew up playing in the Rocky Mountains and first discovered his passion for organizing to protect the natural world. Alex first met ROP through the Precious Dirt and the Freedom from Pesticides Alliance’s local ordinance campaign. After a living room conversation that asked, “What do you need to still be living in this community 20 years from now?” Alex helped form the Josephine County Racial Justice Working Group. Josephine County Racial Justice Working Group’s bold organizing since 2013 has included multiple racial justice trainings, study groups, movie nights, community strategy sessions, and actions for Black Lives Matter. Alex brings to the ROP Board a deep passion for building a movement for justice at the intersection of issues and boundless energy for innovative organizing.

Wix Covey – Baker County

Wix has a long history of work committed to peace and justice. When living in Wisconsin, he helped organize the Northwoods Peace Fellowship and was part of the Wisconsin Network of Peace and Justice (WNPJ), with both groups working on immigration issues, racial justice issues, protests against the War in Iraq and fighting against Governor Walker’s Budget Repair Bill. In 2010 he and his partner Alice moved back to Halfway, Oregon. Most recently, Wix brought together dozens of community members in his hometown to found the PanHandle Community Alliance (PCA), formed after the occupation of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge by armed militants. PCA promotes a vision of informed communities, democracy, fairness and communities free of violence and hate. Wix also shares his love of Tai Chi Chuan through classes offered to community members young and old, promoting harmony and balance in mind, body and spirit.

Dancer Davis – Douglas County

Dancer’s years of hard work in Douglas County advocating for the poor and unhoused prior to the Occupy movement have paved the way for Occupy Roseburg to hold so much space in their community, including an ongoing Feed the ‘Burg potluck that has served 60-125 hungry folks every week for almost 250 consecutive weeks. In 2005, Dancer joined ROP for our famous Walk for Truth, Justice, and Dignity, and hit the road again through central and eastern Oregon with the 2013 March for ONE Oregon Bus Tour for just immigration reform. Growing up in Oklahoma, Dancer has always lived rural, poor and queer. Early on she connected the dots between class, race and gender. Dancer brings this dynamic clarity and commitment to her role on the ROP Board (and her job as grandma).

Cathy Howell – Marion County

Cathy Howell retired from the AFL-CIO in 2011, where she had 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. Cathy is looking forward to spending time post-retirement building and strengthening the human dignity organizing in Marion County. She divides her time between Salem and El Salvador, where she is a volunteer at the Centro de Intercambio y Solidaridad. She teaches English to Salvadorans working in social movements, and helped organize delegations of international observers for the February 2014 Presidential Election and the 2015 Congressional and Mayoral elections in El Salvador. She is studying Spanish in an effort to strengthen her ability to work more effectively in Marion County and El Salvador.

Joe Lewis – Columbia County

Joe’s politicization happened suddenly when the Ohio National Guard opened fire on students protesting the Vietnam War at Kent State on May 4th, 1970. Joe was shot that day. He returns each year to the Kent State commemoration and gives talks about that day to local civic clubs and schools. Serving 15 years on the Scappoose School Board, 33 years at the City of Scappoose public works department and helping raise 7 children, Joe has always been committed to engaging his community in justice and opportunity. Joe is one of the many members of Columbia County Coalition for Human Dignity (CCCHD) that is touched, shaped and inspired by ROP Founder Marcy Westerling and helps carry on a vision of human dignity organizing through CCCHD and as a regular volunteer at the ROP office. Sometimes you might even catch him in the car with a ROP staff person, joining road trips and meeting his peers and counterparts in other counties around the state.

Bruce Morris – Deschutes County

Bruce has been involved with ROP since 2002, shortly after giving up a lucrative career as a corporate lawyer to live his values. He has lived at various income levels working at jobs ranging from delivering food to food pantries, Director of the Human Dignity Coalition in Bend, and a paralegal at a law firm representing injured and disabled people and workers. Bruce is a bold leader and trainer across issues for social justice in Central Oregon. In 2013, after participating in the March for ONE Oregon Bus Tour, Bruce was one of the key leaders who coordinated a community response to the church arson that occurred only hours after a pro-immigrant rights event. He is currently coordinator for Central Oregon Jobs with Justice and the Social Justice Center in Bend, as well as working part-time for Central Oregon Community radio station, KPOV.

Josefina Riggs – Redmond, Deschutes County

Born in Caracas, Venezuela, Josefina and her son Zydlei moved to the US in 1998. Josefina met ROP through the March for ONE in Oregon March of 2013, which she recalls as her first experience in the USA in an organization fighting for the benefit of the entire community. Over the last several years, Josefina has been involved with Causa Central Oregon, Recursos, and other local community and social justice groups. She has fought for immigration reform, ending wage theft, and other programs and activities that benefit the wider community. Through Josefina, ROP will be lucky enough to have a Causa Board Member also serve as a ROP Board Member. Josefina brings heart, commitment and inspiration to all of her justice work.

Hannah Sohl – Jackson County

Hannah Sohl grew up in Jackson County, where she became concerned about the impact that climate change was having on the people, the economy, the ecosystems of Southern Oregon, and around the world. Hannah started organizing with others in southern Oregon, co-founding Rogue Climate, a youth-led community organization based in Jackson County in 2013. ROP first met Hannah at the Caucus in Woodburn that same year! Leading both living room conversations and massive collaborative art projects at the Capitol, Hannah has played a crucial part in helping Rogue Climate become a recognized, respected, inspiring leader in the movement for climate justice in Southern Oregon and across the state. In the ROP community, Hannah has found mentorship and fellow change makers. She loves the way that ROP supports and believes in people across the state.

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