Are you ready for everything that 2011 will bring? Before we jump in too far, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the ROP highlights from 2010. Thanks to a powerful network of human dignity groups, a strong and visionary board, and a fabulous group of members and supporters, we have a lot to be proud of!
1. Celebrating ROP’s Roots & Wings. We are still riding high from the momentum of our fabulous December celebration. Rural leaders from dozens of groups discussed strategy with 4 national thinkers who have roots back to Oregon’s fight the right movement, and then over 130 friends joined us for a dinner & dance party to honor our founder, Marcy Westerling, and celebrate Cara Shufelt as our new Director. And beyond that, we also raised $8,000 for ROP’s Roots & Wings fund. What a way to end the year!
2. Touring with the award-winning film, Out in the Silence. Filmmakers & ROP friends Joe Wilson & Dean Hamer brought standing-room-only crowds to 15 small Oregon towns on this tour, reaching over 1000 people, challenging homophobia and bringing a message of equality and inclusion. ROP member groups worked tirelessly this year for LGBTQ rights and are proud to be part of an effort to win marriage equality in Oregon!
3. Keeping human dignity alive in elections 2010. The progressive voice was sidelined nationally as we watched candidates run full speed to the right, or be defeated. In Oregon though, rural progressives reached over 8,000 of their neighbors with a personal conversation about the ballot and our democracy. The ROP voters’ guide reached 37,000 households and featured hometown strategies for rebuilding our economy and democracy year round.
4. No Soy el Army: Oregon’s Bilingual Peace Tour. 16 host communities looked deeper at the ways that the wars abroad and militarization at home disproportionately impact the poor and people of color. This tour nurtured cross-generational, cross-race relationships among the over 600 people that attended across the state and fostered thinking on creating alternatives to the military for rural youth of color.
5. Deepening our cross-cultural relationships. Arizona’s SB 1070 and a host of other attacks on immigrants remind Oregon’s human dignity groups of the role we play being on the frontlines in our communities advocating for human dignity and rights. This year, many groups prioritized relationships between the Latino and Anglo communities as a way to build a united front for change in their communities. One great example is the workshop that Centro de Ayuda and the Coastal Progressives organized in Newport, which was facilitated by Nelson Orellana of Equipo Maiz, a Salvadoran popular education organization – and was part of a long-term multiracial education and civil rights campaign.
6. Immigrant allies standing against deportations. ROP is proud to have joined with CAUSA and the Safe Communities Project this year in challenging Secure Communities and calling for an end to deportations and collaboration between ICE and local police. We participated in marches, documented deportations, met with local elected officials and created public pressure for respecting basic rights for immigrants. With attacks on immigrants growing, we’ll keep the pressure on in 2011 at the legislature and in our local communities.
7. Hometown Strategies for Advancing Democracy. ROP worked with human dignity groups this spring to host Roundtable Dialogues, bringing together key community leaders to put together our best thinking about how rural Oregon can help lead us out of this economic crisis. Hometown strategies – long-term projects that address the need for a stronger economy while uniting our community under a banner of human dignity values – are what emerged from those roundtables. Our Caucus in April drew over 130 ROPers and featured strategies like defending against foreclosures, working against deportations, moving our money to local banks and an Oregon State Bank.
8. Rolling Think Tanks with Suzanne Pharr. One of ROP’s longest and dearest friends joined us in February for a series of 7 themed conversations with more than 160 ROP leaders. 2010 was a transitional year for ROP in many ways, and these think tanks centered us on the core value of our work, bringing us closer to defining what it will take for our movement to “win” in these times.
9. We passed measures 66 & 67! In the January elections, Oregon stood out as a rare exception to the current economic trend of cutting taxes, cutting services, and defunding the commons. ROP groups developed county-specific guides featuring local business owners, knocked on 1520 doors, called 3225 voters in all 36 counties, and mailed voters’ guides to 12,496 rural voters – and was proud to contribute towards this huge success!
10. 50 Groups Strong in 2010! A number of these were groups who joined for the first time in 2010, including the Clatsop County Marriage Equality Project, the Lotus Rising Project, Good Grief America, Klamath Sustainable Communities, PFLAG of the Oregon Central Coast, Centro de Ayuda, and Citizens for Responsible Development in the Dalles.
To look back at ROP’s 2010, you can find ROPnets and stories from the year posted on our website at www.rop.org. Thank you all for another wonderful year!