We Believe We Will Win!

The 2023 Rural Caucus & Strategy Session is just a little over a week away, and below are a few reasons why you won’t want to miss getting together this year! Seats are limited, so please register now to save your spot for the Caucus on Saturday, May 20th, and the Rural Organizing Intensive on Sunday, May 21st in Albany!

Scholarships and gas reimbursements, carpool coordination, on-site childcare, community housing, and more are available to make sure as many people can participate in the Caucus as possible, so please let us know how we can support you and your group! Check out the FAQ for more information on COVID safety, venue accessibility, scholarships, etc.

Strategize, cross-pollinate ideas, and help set ROP’s direction for the year to come!
More than 100 inspiring and kickass rural Oregon change-makers will convene on Saturday, May 20th at the 2023 Rural Caucus & Strategy Session in Albany to share ideas and build collective statewide action, break bread together, celebrate our victories, and plan for the year to come. Join us to make new friends, share what’s happening in your community, and build connections that will last a lifetime (because this movement is for the long haul, baby)!

Defending Democracy with our Neighbors: lessons from May and planning for 2024!
Human dignity group leaders across Oregon have been working hard to meet their neighbors where they’re at on the issues being discussed by school boards, parks and recreation candidates, and, in the case of Wallowa County, whether they should secede to Idaho. Join us to share what you learned in your community, learn from others who successfully won local elections while building up their group’s base for future organizing, and let’s take those learnings into 2024!

Building the Movement for Migrant Justice
For decades, Oregonians have shown up again and again to defend our state’s Sanctuary Law that aims to protect migrants and refugees from police collaboration with Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) despite several attacks from the national anti-immigrant Right. In 2021, human dignity groups helped write and successfully pass the Sanctuary Promise Act that made it explicitly illegal for police and ICE to collaborate, built a new hotline that resources families impacted by detention and deportation, and allows community members and organizations (like ROP!) to sue police departments who are violating the law! Join us to learn the latest on how human dignity groups are building local power to hold their local police and sheriffs accountable and make sure everyone has access to driver’s licenses, health information, and housing regardless of the language they speak or the country they were born in. Let’s strategize together about how we can build off of these victories so everyone can live their lives safely and with dignity in rural Oregon! 

Community Media for the People! 
It’s often tough to make sure our issues are being framed well in the media, but what if the movement for human dignity led the local media? Join our friends at Oregon Community Media, a statewide network of community radio stations, to dive into building media that is responsive to community needs, reflective of everyone who lives in rural Oregon, and provides crucial information to defend democracy! We will strategize together about the future of rural media including print newspapers, online media, radio, and TV. On Sunday, Oregon Community Media will lead a Managing Your Radio Station training for all the folks starting new radio stations or building leadership within an existing station!

“On Message, With Meaning” – Messaging, Audiences, Action and Spokespeople
Eager to build your skills as an effective communicator? Learn how to do messaging that breaks complicated issues down into clear statements and moves your audiences without repeating your opposition’s messages, all while lifting up your worldview and values! Always wanted to be an effective spokesperson and public speaker with a message to communicate? The Messaging Strategy Lab will go deeper into messaging challenges, specific campaigns/issues, message critique, and refinement by peers. On Sunday, we will pull the basics of messaging together into a plan for reaching different audiences including those beyond the choir.

Join ROP’s long-time friend and progressive communications extraordinaire Robert Bray for values-based messaging trainings and strategy labs, including during Sunday’s Rural Organizing Intensive! Robert has worked as the Director of Communications for many movement organizations, including the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force in the 90s, which is how he got to know ROP and Marcy Westerling, ROP’s late founder. 

Countering White Christian Nationalism
What is the role of religion in movements for dignity and justice? Join this session to learn more about the history of faith-based resistance to oppression in the US, and what lessons we can learn for countering white Christian nationalism today. Together we will strategize about ways we can support faith-based and secular communities to confront rising white Christian nationalism.

This session will be led by our friends Aaron Scott and Cedar Monroe, co-founders of Chaplains on the Harbor in rural Grays Harbor County, WA. A bit more about Aaron and Cedar:

  • Aaron Scott is part of the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights & Social Justice and co-founder of Chaplains on the Harbor in rural Grays Harbor County, WA. He is a transgender father, a second-generation preacher, and third generation organizer of the working class. 
  • Cedar Monroe has worked for over a decade as an interfaith chaplain to people experiencing homelessness, incarceration, and addiction as a co-founder of Chaplains on the Harbor. Raised in a rural community in a poor white family, they had a front-row seat to the fall of extractive industries and the rise of white Christian nationalism. Cedar has a Master’s of Divinity from Episcopal Divinity School and is studying at Vancouver School of Theology for a ThM in Indigenous and Interreligious Studies, working to develop a response to the rise of organized white nationalism among pagan white men in prison and poor communities. Their book, Trash: A Poor White Journey, will be released in March 2024.

“If I can’t dance, it isn’t my revolution.” Celebrate ROP’s 30th Birthday!
Join us Saturday after the Caucus to celebrate ROP’s 30th birthday with delicious dinner, fun music by two local bands, dancing, cake, games, and incredible company! Let’s break bread and have some fun!

Rural Organizing Intensive on Sunday
Back by popular demand, on Sunday the 21st there will be a Rural Organizing Intensive from 9 am – 1 pm! Join us for one of two tracks: Managing Your Radio Station training led by Oregon Community Media for groups starting or strengthening their local community radio station; Audiences, Action and Spokesperson Skills led by Robert Bray for groups eager to strengthen your communications skills and workshop powerful messaging for the issues we’re facing today. A hearty breakfast and a delicious and travel-friendly lunch will be provided! 

More strategy sessions on the issues rural Oregonians are working on are coming together at this very moment! We are so excited to get together! Register today and check out more details about the Caucus weekend at our website!

Can we support you and your group’s participation with a scholarship, travel support, or housing? Please email emma@rop.org and let us know!