WHAT IS THE ACTIVITY? The KTA for February 2011 is to claim space – with our legislators, in our newspapers, in our communities – for our vision of priorities in tough economic times.

By leading with our values, we’ll use the power of our Human Dignity Groups to frame the way our communities talk about economic priorities this year. Should we really be spending on wars abroad, on prisons, on deportations, on surveillance of peace activists? What does it mean that during a recession so much of our budget goes to this kind of repression at home and abroad?

This month, we name the building blocks of the society we want to live in: access to education, health care, money that stays in our community and works for the common good. Let’s make sure that there is a progressive voice in every small-town community advocating for sanity in our economic decision-making.

WHY THIS ACTIVITY? The Legislative session in Oregon starts on February 1st, today in fact! Cuts will be deep this year, but ROP is supporting several proactive bills to get our economy on better footing.

See these overviews of our work to establish an Oregon State Bank, move forward legislation to stop abusive Wage Theft from low-wage workers, and to move forward immigrant fairness during a tough economic moment in 2011.


  1. Send this KTA to members of your human dignity group. Get together in person or via email to discuss your group’s angle.
  2. Read the overviews on the State Bank, Wage Theft, and Immigration Fairness, plus the sample letters provided at the end of this KTA packet for inspiration.
  3. Choose the top issues that you care about. Times of instability are times of change, so be bold! Let’s reframe the conversation to reach people who are looking for new solutions, and who might otherwise be tempted by the language of the radical right tea party.
  4. Write a letter to your local paper. Local media is looking at local angles on statewide issues, so now is the time to make your voice heard. Be sure to highlight a few things.

a. The legislative session is starting and we know it will be a tough one.

b. We need to “put our money where our values are,” to make our economy strong. (The right this year will try to cut services and push divisive bills forward, saying that tough economic times mean that we have to leave some people behind. This is simply the opposite of how to get out of an economic crisis!)

c. Include examples of ways we lose or spend money on things that keep us divided or go against our common good. Then examples of what we should spend money on to strengthen our social and economic fabric.

5. Schedule a visit with your state legislators for March. You’ll have a chance to see and weigh in on the ROP’s Legislative platform by that time, and will have plenty to talk about!

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Dear Editor,

The legislative session in Oregon began on February 1st, and some people are already calling for cuts, cuts, cuts! We must remember that so many Oregonians just can’t afford deep cuts in health care, child nutrition programs, and childcare support for single mothers.

As a society we need to take a hard look at funding for prisons, military contracts, immigration enforcement, and bailing out banks, and ask ourselves when we cut services for the most vulnerable, are we putting our money where our values are?

The way out of this economic crisis is for us to make sure that we are supporting every person to be a contributing member of society. This happens when we fund things like education & health care, not deportations & wars! We have to begin making decisions that put our public resources at work for the public good.

Your Name
Your Human Dignity Group

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Dear Editor,

As the Governor releases his budget for the year, and the Oregon legislature begins the tough process of deciding what is funded and what is not, as a state we need to remember to put our money where our values are.

When we talk about cutting health care, food stamps, and child care for some of the poorest and most vulnerable Oregonians, I can’t help but think of the billions of dollars sucked out of our communities by the endless wars in the Middle East, the millions spent bailing out the banks (but not their debtors going through foreclosure!), or the billions that we dump into Immigration Enforcement for workplace raids, deportations, and border enforcement measures that do nothing but create hardship.

Fortunately we do have some good solutions that will make their way through the legislature this year. The creation of an Oregon State Bank, for example, would allow us to keep our state’s money working for US rather than for the big banks that have failed us too many times to count.

This year we need to focus on solutions that will pull us all out of this economic crisis, together and in one piece.

Your Name
Your Human Dignity Group