The Rural Organizing Project (ROP) has a dream team of paid staff to help meet the daily needs of a network supporting over 50 human dignity groups across the state, and to build and support statewide campaigns and collective action as directed by local groups.
Cara Shufelt, Co-Director
Cara has an infectious passion for organizing. Since Cara’s early years in her home state of Michigan, she has been drawing people together to make the world a better place. As a student at Lewis and Clark College in Oregon, she organized over 10% of the student body to attend the direct action of the World Trade Organization in Seattle in 1999 where she saw the power of solidarity and democratic decision making first hand. Cara joined the Rural Organizing Project in 2002 as an organizer and immediately fell in love with a life criss-crossing Oregon meeting with folks in living rooms across the state, having conversations on how we build power and make change in our communities across rural Oregon. In 2008, Cara took a brief leave from ROP that provided her the opportunity to work closely with student organizers and study other models of movement building. Cara returned to ROP and now serves as Co-Director while continuing to be an active part of the organizing team. Send Cara an email at email@example.com.
Jess Campbell, Co-Director
Jess has over 15 years of rural organizing experience and has been involved with the Rural Organizing Project since becoming a member in 2005. Jess was raised in the rural West by a working class family with a strong sense of fairness. Jess came into organizing without realizing it, rallying her peers to successfully take on corporate advertising in their high school, which led to ongoing student campaigns on immigrant rights and interrupting the poverty draft. Before joining ROP staff, Jess helped develop several community gardens at Cottage Grove-area elementary schools during the height of the 2008-9 recession, helped organize a unified community response to the tragic firebombing of a Corvallis mosque, and founded and coordinated an art exchange between students in Oregon and Gaza. Jess has worked with some of the most rural communities in Oregon to fight for the commons such as post offices and libraries, to support frontline communities reeling from vigilante violence and white nationalist organizing, and to advance local visions of what healthy and vibrant rural communities could look like. Jess is the co-author of Up in Arms: A Guide to Oregon’s Patriot Movement. Send Jess an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keyla Sulem Almazan Martinez, Organizer
Keyla‘s organizing savvy comes from a long history of organizing, from co-founding MEChA at The Dalles High School, to volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, to being a volunteer leader on a project to build a community garden and bridge the gap between Latinos and Anglos in Yamhill County. Keyla first got involved with Rural Organizing Project in 2009 through Newberg Human Dignity where her warmth, passion for organizing, and skill at developing camaraderie with a wide variety of people was clear right away. She was a volunteer co-facilitator of ROP’s first Rural Latino Leadership Summit in February 2011. Keyla was an ROP staff organizer for 1½ years until she went back to school at Linfield College, interning with Unidos Bridging Community in Yamhill County and ROP while in school. Keyla’s heartfelt commitment to justice in rural Oregon has led her back to ROP staff where she excited to travel the state once again, connecting fierce local leaders for human dignity, and leading Know Your Rights trainings! Send Keyla an email at email@example.com.
Grace Warner, Organizer
Grace lives in Josephine County and joined Rural Organizing Project in 2016. After graduating from the University of Oregon in 2011 with a journalism degree, she dedicated her time to organizing in defense of threatened forests, watersheds, and communities downstream. From 2013-2015 she worked with Coast Range Forest Watch, a volunteer-run community organization in Coos Bay, to build community support for public lands. In 2015 she co-founded a climate justice organization called Southern Oregon Rising Tide and joined a statewide coalition in opposing a proposed 232-mile fracked gas pipeline that would cut across over 400 waterways in rural Southern Oregon. In fall of 2015 she coordinated media for Hike the Pipe, a month-long walk on the proposed pipeline route. In culmination of Hike the Pipe, she worked with local community groups and statewide organizations to rally hundreds of people against the pipeline in Coos County. Grace grew up in Central California, spending summer vacations hiking and camping in Western Oregon and the Sierra Nevadas. She is fierce and adventurous, and thrilled to take all of the long highways and backroads while fighting for justice in rural Oregon! Send Grace an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hannah Harrod, Organizer
Hannah joined Rural Organizing Project in 2016 to help send a contingent of rural Oregonians to Standing Rock. Working with ROP felt like a homecoming, and she joined the team as an organizer in 2017. Born and raised (mostly) in Douglas County, Hannah’s commitment to rural organizing comes from her deep knowledge of the incredible resilience and courage of rural communities. Hannah has worked for the last decade as an organizer and educator around economic, racial, and environmental justice and LGBTQ+ issues. She first began organizing around foreclosure defense and housing security in her neighborhood. She was moved by watching her neighbors reclaim foreclosed homes and take care of each other in such a tangible and courageous way, and it secured her commitment to offering her time and energy toward building communities that support the wellbeing of everyone in them. She is passionate about supporting group process, and brings her skills as a facilitator to the work that she does. She currently lives in Benton County and when she isn’t organizing, she can usually be found instigating dance parties or at the ceramic studio elbow-deep in clay. Send Hannah an email at email@example.com.
Emma Ronai-Durning, Intern
Emma is interning with Rural Organizing Project for the summer of 2017. She will focus on documenting support systems and rapid response networks being created to support undocumented Oregonians so that local organizers can reflect on best practices and make connections with their peers across the state. Born and raised in Salem, Emma is currently a senior at Middlebury College in Vermont. She started organizing as a first year, focusing mostly on climate justice issues through a campus-based fossil fuel divestment campaign, fighting the Vermont Fracked Gas Pipeline, and pushing world leaders to take more radical action at the Paris Climate Talks. Later her focus shifted and she participated in performance activism against campus rape culture, cofounded “Wonder Bread: White Students for Racial Justice” with some of her classmates, and helped shut down a lecture by white nationalist Charles Murray. Planning to move back West after college, Emma is excited for a chance to start digging in to rural Oregon and supporting the incredible people working across the state she calls home. Send Emma an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
VOLUNTEERS also serve critical roles in making the work of the ROP happen. Nearly all of ROP’s member groups are volunteer managed and led, meaning ROP works with hundreds volunteers to make the work happen at the local level. Around the state office, the staff is strongly supported by dedicated volunteers that provide computer support, data entry, event coordination and maintenance of our office-home. ROP works with dozens of volunteers who give between two to twenty hours a month. If you’re interested in helping keep ROP’s work rolling along, email email@example.com with what kind of skills and interests you have. We’d love to have you join our team!