We have experienced record-breaking organizing across rural Oregon over the last year in response to growing threats to democracy and human dignity; dozens of communities organized public actions for social justice for the first time, several counties organized their largest marches ever, and students and young people walked out of dozens of rural schools, some in the hundreds! ROP’s network has grown to 75 autonomous member groups in 31 of Oregon’s 36 counties and we are growing our staff team and our programs to meet this movement moment. We are thrilled to add more staff organizers to our ranks, and to experiment with new programs to support the development of bold, agile, and innovative rural organizers (we will share more information about ROP’s organizing fellowship in a ROPnet soon)! Read on to learn more about Rindy and Cathy, send them a note welcoming them to the team, and strategize with the whole ROP team in person at the Rural Caucus & Strategy Session on May 19th in The Dalles!
Rindy Hart, Organizer
Rindy was raised mostly in Douglas County and grew up watching and helping the adults around her organize on shoestring budgets to build community, from family Song Fests to her school’s PTA. Rindy has confronted injustice for as long as she can remember, including challenging her high school teachers when they talked about Indigenous peoples as a part of local history; she set them straight that Indigenous folks are part of modern life, because Rindy is living proof! Rindy has held vigil with Veterans for Peace, marched against Monsanto, and organized “love walls” to block funerals from the Westboro Baptist Church after the Umpqua Community College shooting in 2015. In 2016, she loaded her car with donations from the community and hit the road for Standing Rock. When she returned home, she joined the fight against the Pacific Connector Pipeline organizing events such as Pints Not Pipelines to raise community awareness. With the Common Ground Coalition of Douglas County, Rindy helped organize Douglas County’s first Indigenous People’s Rally, Equality March, and Resistance Picnic. When Douglas County closed all of their libraries in 2017, she helped organize to reopen her local library branch as an all-volunteer operation. Born from three generations of truck drivers, Rindy feels at home on the road, and is excited to travel the backroads and highways of Oregon to support organizing in every corner of the state! Send Rindy an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Cathy Howell, Fellowship Program Coordinator
Cathy joined the ROP staff this year to take on the responsibility to develop the first year of ROP’s organizer fellowship program. Cathy served on the board of ROP for several years and has also been volunteering at the Centro de Intercambio y Solidaridad in El Salvador teaching English, studying Spanish, and helping coordinate international delegations to observe the Salvadoran election process. She worked at the AFL-CIO as a field organizer in the southern region and leadership development coordinator in the national office for over a decade, and before that spent twenty years in social justice work as a community and issue organizer in Oregon and in the southern US. 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, and is excited about ROP’s new fellowship to bring more people into organizing work and help them gain the skills to become effective organizers. When she is not working, Cathy loves going to outdoor events and concerts in Marion and Polk counties in the summer, shopping at farmer’s markets, traveling just about anywhere, watching independent films and British detective shows, and listening to books at the gym. Send Cathy an email at email@example.com