Like you, we are disturbed, angered, and grieving after torch-wielding white nationalists descended on Charlottesville, VA last weekend, killing one, injuring many, and threatening hundreds who showed up for human dignity and justice.
As one rural leader told us, “I feel that if there was a white nationalist rally happening here, all of the people I care about would have been demonstrating and under attack.” Indeed, this feels like another part of a disturbing trend. We are no strangers to senseless white supremacist violence, nor to influxes of people from around the country eager to speak for us. From the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge takeover to the MAX killings, Charlottesville is hitting close to home.
We are heartened by the outpouring of public response and action across rural Oregon. Dozens of rallies have been planned for rural Oregonians to join together to grieve and to build community; to recommit themselves to the movement for justice and dignity. From John Day to Port Orford, Roseburg to The Dalles (photo above), this moment is calling our people together. We are sharing event announcements on our Facebook if you’re looking for a rally or vigil near you.
We gather together in difficult times because we know that we are the ones who will keep each other safe. We know and love our communities and will continue to show up and take care of each other again and again.
In rural Oregon, we are not new to a white nationalist presence in our communities. We have seen an increase in many types of violence and threats against our neighbors, ranging from bias crimes to neo-Nazi activity to the breaking up of families through detention and deportation. For many of us, we feel not only a deep empathy with Charlottesville in this moment, but also a deep resonance and a heightened call to action.
Share with us how is your community banding together in this moment to care for each other – email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. What is your group doing to prepare for or respond to crises in your community? We will learn from each other.