On Message with Meaning: Highlights and Next Up

We have created a Facebook page called Proyecto de Organización Rural that is specific to the Guatemalan community in Oregon that speaks Todos Santos Mam. Mam is not a written language and there are not a lot of resources or organizations that offer information in Mam. At the same time, this community is one of the most targeted for detention and deportation in the state. Please share the Know Your Rights and informational videos on our page with folks who speak Todos Santos Mam!

Dear ROPnet,

Last week we held our second of three virtual trainings to gear up for the 2024 election by building concrete skills while discussing critical issues. You can still join us for Managing Misinformation, Advancing Queer Inclusion on Monday, November 6th from 6:30 – 8 pm PST. Read on for details about the upcoming interactive training that will level up your communications in time for 2024 and what you missed in Spokesperson Skills Featuring Housing for All. For details on Training 1: Values-Based Messaging Featuring Immigrant Justice, check out our previous update.

Join us for our last workshop!

Session 3: Managing Misinformation, Advancing Queer Inclusion

Monday, November 6th, 6:30 – 8:00 pm PST

We will focus on Queer Inclusion, with a deep dive into managing misinformation and pivoting to our side’s strategic messaging. Anti-2SLGBTQIA+, and especially anti-trans, rhetoric is running rampant these days. Finn Franklin of Rogue Community College’s Rainbow Club will cohost this session with Robert! Whether you are preparing to return home for some tense family dinner table conversations over Thanksgiving, prepping for a Trans Day of Remembrance event, or working to support queer and trans students in the classroom and at school board meetings, we would love for you to join us! Register has ended to attend the session via computer or phone.

You will receive a unique login link from Zoom after you register which you’ll need to join the session. Please also make sure that your Zoom is up to date before joining. Questions? Reach out to emma@rop.org

We can’t wait to see you on Zoom!

Read All About It: Spokesperson Skills Featuring Housing for All

On Monday, October 23rd, 25 people from 15 counties gathered to practice spokesperson skills and workshop strategic housing justice messaging.

When it comes to getting our message across, we must often speak to the media or present publicly to wide audiences. In this training, we practiced how to integrate our Values-Problem-Solution-Action (VPSA) messages into interviews with reporters. 

When we had conversations with human dignity leaders around the state to create a Roadmap to a Thriving Rural Oregon in 2020, safe and affordable housing was a top priority. Now, three years later, more evictions are happening than even before the pandemic, and rental prices are skyrocketing. Many human dignity groups are working on creative local solutions, including talking to elected officials at all levels of government, distributing emergency supplies to folks without homes, advocating for an end to “sweeping” (aka displacing) houseless campers, and advocating for new shelters in their communities. 

Here’s an example values-based message crafted by Benton County human dignity organizers with Stop the Sweeps Corvallis, who co-hosted the training:

  • Values: Everyone deserves to lead a stable and dignified life and have a reasonable standard of living. This is essential to a resilient and healthy community. But for unhoused people this basic human need is denied when our city doesn’t trust their ability to determine what living conditions are best for them.
  • Problem: Our city doesn’t trust our unhoused neighbors and is creating instability by regularly kicking unhoused neighbors down the road and forcing them to move their tents to the next park over in a practice known as “sweeps.” Sweeps perpetuate a cycle of houselessness, waste taxpayer money, and make it harder for people to find stable housing. Our community is weakened when our neighbors without housing face inhumane living conditions and false “solutions” to the lack of affordable and safe housing. This creates economic and civic insecurity for all of us and undermines community resilience, dignity, and opportunity.
  • Solution: The city must pass an ordinance to stop sweeps on city land so unhoused folks know they can live in our community with dignity and safety. This creates a safer, healthier and more economically stable community for all of us.
  • Action: Don’t waste taxpayer money on sweeps of our unhoused neighbors. Testify to the city council and speak out against the violence and pointlessness of sweeps and demand real solutions to the lack of safe and affordable housing. 

Tips for Speaking to Reporters

In the training, we took our housing messaging and practiced delivering it to an audience. Some folks practiced speaking at a city council meeting, and others practiced being interviewed by a reporter. Here are some tips for talking to the media that we covered:

  • Before the interview:
    • Ask what the reporter wants; get clarity about the reporter’s intentions.
    • Due diligence – know the format, program, host, other speakers, and topics.
    • Know your audience.
    • Get on message.
    • Emphasize stories and personal inflections over statistics and data points.
  • During the interview:
    • Voice & body: speak slowly, project louder; for zoom, lean forward.
    • Don’t just answer the reporter’s question; respond with your message.
    • Stick to the facts, don’t fudge or lie. Gently correct mistakes/misinformation, then move back to the message.
    • Add personal stories and connections (examples: “As someone born here…,” “As a working parent concerned about my children’s well-being….”).
    • Know when to stop talking.

Hungry for more? If you want to watch the full training recording, or get connected to others organizing around housing justice in your area, email us at emma@rop.org! You can also read the recap of Training 1: Values-Based Messaging Featuring Immigrant Justice on our website.


Emma and the ROP Team

P.S. These trainings are only available in English. If you are interested in Spanish-language communications training, please let us know by emailing emma@rop.org or calling/texting 503-543-8417 as we are eager to continue building upon this training series!

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