Groups Kicked Off 2024 with Statewide Action!

Dear ROPnet,

Last month, rural Oregonians in every corner of the state showed that democracy is not a spectator sport and got in the thick of the action to advance democracy in their communities! Here are a few highlights from January, including Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations, Women’s Marches, civics education workshops, and peace vigils.

What has your group been up to so far in 2024? Share your photos and stories with the state to inspire one another, and come to the Rural Caucus and Strategy Session on Saturday, April 6th in Woodburn to swap strategies and plan for what’s to come. Register now at rop.org/caucus to reserve your team’s seats!

Warmly,

Emma and the ROP Team

January Actions Across the State

Baker County

Community members in Halfway have been holding candlelight peace vigils every Friday for a few months. They also got an article published in the local paper, the Hells Canyon Journal, and convinced the city council to allow them to install a permanent peace sign at the main intersection in town!

Coos County

Bandon Inclusivity Group hosted a Protecting Democracy:  A Civics Workshop, on Sunday, January 21, following the lead of Linn-Benton NAACP’s event in 2022. Click here for the toolkit on how to host your own! 80 people showed up and rotated through 7 stations over the course of the afternoon. We will be sending out a full ROPnet about this soon. Stay tuned!

10 seated people listen intently to a speaker.

Curry County

54 people line up for a women’s march. The people in front hold a sign reading “Bigger than Roe. Rights, Freedoms, Democracy.”

Despite flood watch warnings in the county, 54 people participated in Indivisible North Curry County’s 8th annual Women’s March. Marchers weren’t discouraged by serious wind, and luckily the rain held off for a few key hours. After gathering at Battle Rock in Port Orford people walked to the library, waving at folks driving by. When they got to the library, Indivisible North Curry County had refreshments and tables set up with information on how to support abortion access, how to become a candidate for local office, how to get involved with various local organizations, and how to contact your elected officials at all levels of government.

A table display with business cards for elected officials and information on how to contact them.

Josephine

Takilma

Folks in Takilma (population 465) hosted a Solidarity March on Saturday, January 27th. The next week they followed up by hosting a letter-writing event.

About 15 people in raincoats walk down a country road holding signs that read “Say no to genocide.”

Grants Pass

Many community partners collaborated on a Martin Luther King Jr weekend of events in Grants Pass. On Friday, January 12 Grants Pass High School Theatre department hosted a one-act festival of short plays celebrating ordinary people doing extraordinary things (the theme for the weekend). On Saturday, the Grants Pass Remembrance Project hosted a bilingual community gathering with food, speakers, and student leaders (see image below). This included community members reciting MLK quotes, and a panel discussing the Remembrance Project’s work telling the history of Grants Pass as a Sundown town and setting a new direction for the future. On Monday, Rogue Community College’s Courageous Conversations group hosted an evening of story and song at Newman United Methodist Church.

Eight people stand on stage with a screen lit up behind them.

The weekend also marked the start of a community-wide tile mural. Tiles (see examples in the image below) were distributed all over town and are being decorated in honor of their chosen community members who they see as “ordinary people doing extraordinary things”. In March, the tiles will be exhibited by the Grants Pass Museum of Art!

Paper tiles with hand drawings posted on a bulletin board.

Lane County

Organizers in Florence held their annual Women’s March on Sunday, January 21st, and said it was one of their best yet! There were over 100 participants despite the rain. In addition to having speakers who shared about the history of women’s rights organizing, they made sure to have lots of fun, bringing out the kazoos and tambourines and singing together. Organizers of the march shared that they wanted to take time to celebrate the community and bring optimism about what the future holds.

Four people stand smiling and holding signs on a dock with water behind them.

Washington County

Western Washington County for Racial Justice hosted an Art March for Martin Luther King Jr Day in Forest Grove. They posted bilingual flyers and wrote a press release that got picked up by the local paper announcing the event. Despite a thick layer of snow putting a damper on the marching, the sun came out and their art day was a great success! Around 25 people of all ages participated and enjoyed the meaningful playlist and the company.

A young kid in a minions cap and covid mask holds up two decorated signs. One reads “Dream” and the other reads “BLM.”
English