School Board Elections & More!

For years, rural Oregonians have taken action during elections as an opportunity to grow the movement for human dignity for the long-haul while electing leaders who work to advance democracy and justice for all. Folks across rural Oregon are exercising their muscles for democracy and inclusion and to overcome the politics of fear and exclusion being pushed by national and local Right-wing organizations that aim to divide our communities for their benefit. 

Today we share some inspiring, and some telling, examples of what’s happening in rural Oregon as the May special district elections heat up and we’re curious: what is happening in your community? Are the issues of whether trans people should have rights, books should be banned, and history should be taught accurately being discussed in your town? By whom? We’d love to know! Please reply and share your thoughts and updates, and join us Saturday, May 20th for the annual Rural Caucus & Strategy Session in Albany where we’ll debrief the election results and map our plans between now and the 2024 election and beyond!

Small Town Snapshots

Crook County Together for Kids formed after a small group of people sharing Right-wing talking points from Right-wing group Moms for Liberty began threatening and attempting to intimidate teachers, school board members, and library staff into banning or segregating books with queer characters or themes, axing a recently adopted inclusive elementary school curriculum, and more.

This election, Crook County Together for Kids are hosting candidate Meet and Greets at a local restaurant to help voters get the information they need to vote for their values while supporting a local business! They are sharing at local meetings about who is on the ballot this election cycle and what’s at stake if candidates who are focused on scapegoating queer and trans students, arming teachers, and eliminating state oversight of Crook County Schools are elected.

After months of outside groups railing against the district’s commitment to equity and inclusion at South Lane County School Board meetings, a Right-wing anti-LGBTQ+ PAC held what was billed as a public candidate forum Tuesday night at the Cottage Grove Community Center that ended in violence. Human dignity group leaders and pro-democracy community members in South Lane County attended in the hopes of getting to ask questions and engage in meaningful conversation. While the forum was advertised as a place to meet the candidates, only a couple of candidates were there, and the questions were written down and hand-picked. 

When an audience member was invited to go on an anti-transgender rant and a candidate responded with more anti-trans nonsense, audience members silently stood up and put their thumbs down, and they were shoved and tackled to the ground by the forum hosts; one leader left in an ambulance. Here’s a write-up from a local human dignity group Blackberry Pie Society who were in the audience.

Video footage of the town hall in Cottage Grove.

Cottage Grove community leaders are calling for pro-democracy neighbors to join them at the South Lane School Board’s meeting Monday, May 1st at 5:30 pm at the District Office – 455 Adams Ave, Cottage Grove – with positive messages and to offer support to the current school board members who continue to uphold the rights and dignity of all students! 

Countless community leaders of conscience are showing up and leading with their values of inclusion, and human dignity to counter the politics of fear and exclusion. Do you have school board members who could use a thank you? Librarians who held Banned Book events and are steadfast against censorship? Teachers who are continuing to teach a curriculum that helps students find their place in the community and the world? Send them an email, drop off some cookies, and let them know! As Howard Zinn said, “Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.”

Are you or your group taking action this election? Let us know what you’re up to, we’d love to know! Join us Saturday, May 20th at the annual Rural Caucus & Strategy Session in Albany to debrief the May 16th election results and to make plans for how we move forward together toward safety and dignity for all Oregonians!