ROP is facing escalating harassment and intimidation. Please stand with us!
We are all watching in horror as the media helps Donald Trump to introduce racist and xenophobic ideas into the mainstream political debate. For some time now here in rural Oregon, we have experienced the ugly underbelly of this rising right wing with the proliferation of armed militias and other paramilitary groups. We say “experienced” because the Rural Organizing Project (ROP) has become a target for so-called “patriots” in Southern Oregon.
Last April, ROP helped lead a community response to the actions of armed militia groups who nationally mobilized against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The BLM had attempted to enforce environmental regulations against a gold mine in Josephine County. The militia and “patriot” groups set up an armed road block, then took offense when some residents, helped by ROP, publicly disagreed with this idea of settling differences in our communities using guns. In the following months ROP has received escalating harassment, starting with online comments about how ROP is “infiltrating rural communities to spread socialism,” and declaring that “ROP must be stopped at all costs.”
ROP staff member Jessica Campbell has been singled out: ugly notes have been left on her car, her address and intimate details about her life were shared in paramilitary social media groups, she has been followed to meetings, and strangers have attempted to listen in on her conversations at coffee shops. People have approached her rural home at night. She is followed nearly every time she leaves town, sometimes for hours. Her lug nuts were loosened on her car, a direct action against her physical safety.
Local police are under-resourced and say they have limited ability to respond, but this has escalated to the point that we are concerned for Jessica’s physical safety. We need you to stand with ROP as we continue to organize in rural communities across Oregon. As people who believe in our communities, in democracy, and in human dignity, we should not back down! We can’t allow a bunch of armed bullies to to shut down our work when it’s needed more than ever.