It’s been a wild few weeks since school started this fall. We wanted to share the below OPB article with you as an example of what we are hearing crop up across rural Oregon: attacks that use rhetoric about “protecting children” from 2SLGBTQIA+ scapegoats to undermine public education and other crucial public infrastructure. Culver School District pulled their students from Outdoor School at Camp Tamarack after they learned that a nonbinary high school student was a counselor. A social media firestorm attacking the camp and the counselor ensued. One of the incidents mentioned in this article is about violent people brandishing weapons and wearing military gear who rallied in opposition to a drag queen storytime in Eugene, illustrating how this is happening statewide.
What’s happening in your community? In my hometown of Cottage Grove, a local candidate for office announced at a public candidate forum that he is opposed to a county health clinic being near the high school, saying that the clinic has an “agenda” to make children trans. We recently shared this ROPnet about how human dignity groups are showing up to support local libraries and school boards after they were targeted for being inclusive of students of all gender identities and expressions in their books and curriculum. As the election season heats up, we expect to continue to hear the drumbeats of discrimination and exclusion continue. Please let us know what’s going on in your community so we can connect the dots and strategize together!
We take heart in the campaigns led by local human dignity groups that break down issues that attempt to divide our communities and lead with our shared rural values. In response to the social media campaign targeting Camp Tamarack, Stephanie Hunter with Redmond Collective Action shared out a call for everyone positively impacted by Camp Tamarack to share their stories. Central Oregonians have responded with heartwarming stories that emphasize the good that comes from Outdoor School and inclusive spaces where students can flourish. If your family has had positive experiences with Camp Tamarack, please join the campaign and share your story!