It is SO good to be back at ROP! We’ve got a growing movement for rural justice, we’ve got a new ROP baby, and we’ve got Cara Shufelt returning to us after a year away!
In June, 2008 I left my staff position at ROP to begin a year of exploration, study and reflection. I wanted a year to step away from the day to day tasks of organizing to look at how others are building movements and making social change happen. I worked with other organizations (including an election ’08 stint with Oregon Student Association at SOU and UO); I visited other groups in other parts of the country; and I read, studied and reflected. This year also offered me a chance to nourish myself and replenish my energy. And at the end of the year, I knew my organizing home was a place that was deep in grassroots movment building; was working longterm for lasting change in our communities; and a place that was a home for our passions and our hearts & souls. I also had the chance to reflect that in fact, ROP is doing some pretty amazing organizing that does serve as models for other states and communities!
In the week plus that I have been back I have already been able to help organize 2 riders to join a Northwest Caravan to San Jose to protest deportation, reconnect with friends and peers who are doing the work everyday for justice in their hometowns, and spend quality days in the office with the incredible staff and our newest ROP community member, Cora Lou!
As ROP moves into some new phases and as I settle back into a staff position, I look forward to my hours and days doing incredible organizing with incredible people around the state building the hometowns and communities of justice we want.
From Amy & Cora Lou:
These past three months that I have been away from ROP, I have had the joy and absolute treasure of spending every day with my amazing daughter Cora. She was born on July 11th and has been healthy and strong and (mostly) happy since then. Thank you all for the well wishes and support – not to mention the baby socks and savings bonds and Shel Silverstein books of poetry!
Last week, we made our debut back into the working world at the ROP board meeting and then the following day at a regional strategy gathering where she made parenthood look way too easy. I am one of very few and very lucky working parents who get to combine their desire and need to work outside the home with their desire and need to be with their children more than 2 hours a day.
Working at ROP means that not only do we do our best to create the world that we want out there, but we try to practice that in here, within our organization, where it can sometimes be the hardest. For me right now, that means walking our feminist talk by supporting me and Cora to work, and nurse, and cry, and discover the world together. It’s a rare opportunity in this world to affirm our full humanity in the workplace.
For this, I want to thank you all, especially those that welcome a baby and nursing mama at your meetings and into your homes or who come by the office for a baby holding shift (yes, we have a volunteer shift just waiting for you!), but I also want to let you know how proud I am to be part of an organization and community like ROP that is willing to support in word and action our commitment to women as mamas and as organizers as a part of our movement.
This 3 month leave, like Cara’s year away, has also affirmed for me that ROP – the organizing that each of you do that makes ROP the place that it is – is exactly where I want to be.
It’s a chaotic and sometimes scary world out there. From the town halls this summer to the debates over healthcare and war and peace taking us into this fall, I’ve realized just how much we need each other and a movement home like ROP works to create – a place to make sense of it all, keep it real, and support one another to keep working towards that community and movement that we want. Not because it will build power for power’s sake alone, but because we can build the power that we need to create the communities that we want. Not because we are running for office or fighting off one campaign or the other, but because these are our towns, our homes, and our families.
Thanks for making all of us at ROP a part of your movement home!
Amy and Cora