We’re in This Together

The big day is here and I woke up this morning feeling queasy with nerves. Like many of you, I have been inspired by the reports of overflowing ballot drop boxes across rural Oregon from human dignity groups who have been working for months to support their neighbors voting while talking about the issues! Today I’ve been awed by the photos of massive lines of people committed to voting, even if it will take their entire day, and I’m so grateful for that we get to vote by mail here in Oregon! That said, ROP and human dignity groups have been responding to blatant voter intimidation and suppression in Oregon, including people openly carrying assault rifles stopping people trying to drop off their ballots and questioning them, tailgating voters in line for drive-up ballot drop boxes while flashing their lights, driving by and blasting people dropping off their ballots with clouds of diesel smoke, and parking next to the ballot drop box to take photos of people as they vote. In response, community leaders are notifying neighbors to avoid certain ballot boxes, picking up ballots for folks not feeling safe enough to drop their ballots off, and accompanying friends to ballot drop boxes.

I have an unbreakable resolve that together we will create rural communities that thrive instead of struggle to survive, that are welcoming and safe for everyone to live their lives fully. We all know that the results of this election, whenever we have them in the next days or weeks, won’t get us to that destination. Today (and every day, but today especially!), ROP recognizes the tireless efforts of rural community leaders doing the work to try to keep temperatures low in their communities, to work with our neighbors of all beliefs to join together in the shared respect of human dignity and democracy.

For almost 30 years, ROP has centered the values of democracy and human dignity to overcome political divisions and wedges. In this moment where it has even become politicized to use the language of human dignity and democracy, we are continually inspired to support and connect more than 70 groups across rural and small-town Oregon committed to building stronger, safer communities for everyone, who show up for their neighbors no matter what.

As we brace ourselves for what may come next, I asked the ROP staff team to share what’s helping them feel grounded in the movement for human dignity. To the ROP family, below are some poems, songs, and recipes to remind you that we’re thinking of you and have your backs!

Tonight we’ll be answering Defend Democracy Hotline calls at 541-714-3257 while watching election results come in. Tomorrow some of us will march and gather, Thursday we’ll join together across rural Oregon by phone and computer to strategize, and all of us will continue to build toward a thriving rural Oregon for all in the days, months, and years to come. Please send us photos and updates from your work to share out across Oregon at jess@rop.org! As always, we’re just a phone call away!

Much love,
Jess and the ROP Team

Citizen of Dark Times, written by Kim Stafford that is posted at the Bookmine in Cottage Grove, owned by Gail Hoelzle of the Blackberry Pie Society:

we recognize that voting
is only meaningful when we act together
as movement, as future ancestors

today we put aside our egos
we set down perfection,
and our privilege,
and our butbutbutandand righteousness

today we show up for those furthest from power
those carrying the most of our burden
those we’ve already lost to hate in this pale time

we say no where it is the only humane word
and yes where it is a way forward, another breath
we hold history and future in the balance.

we vote to take up our responsibility
we vote as both prayer and blessing
we open the way, widen the way, change the way
-adrienne maree brown

“Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.” -Arundhati Roy

“Every year for my brother’s birthday, my mom would make this carrot cake. Beyond being the best carrot cake in the world, it’s a family tradition that brings me such joy. If you find yourself in need of a baking project that will help you cope with all that we’re facing in this moment of uncertainty and change, I hope you’ll give it a try!” -Abbi Aldrich, the organizer working the Defend Democracy Hotline

Carrot Cake Ingredients: 
4 eggs
1 c. brown sugar (I usually use ¾ c.)
1 c. oil
⅓ c. orange juice concentrate, thawed
2 c. flour
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 ½ c. grated carrots
½ c. chopped walnuts
½ c. raisins

In a large bowl, cream together 4 eggs, brown sugar, oil and orange juice. In another bowl, mix together flour, baking soda and spices. Then stir into the flour mixture the carrots, walnuts and raisins. Add dry ingredients to liquid ingredients and stir until moistened. Pour into an ungreased cake pan (9 x 13) or 2 (8 inch) round pans. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Frosting for 9 x 13:
1 stick butter/margarine, softened
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
½ c. powdered sugar

Frosting for 2 8” round pans:
1 stick butter/margarine, softened
16 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 c. powdered sugar
Beat softened cream cheese and butter, then beat in powdered sugar. Frost cake after it is cooled and refrigerate.

If you want to dance a little, here is the ROP Resistance Playlist on Spotify!