WHY THIS ACTIVITY?
Coming out of this past election and inauguration, we were propelled into action. A force was coming at us and we didn’t know how bad it would be. Many of us took to the streets. We gathered in living rooms. We headed to Town Halls. We put up a furious and compassionate fight for our communities. Rural Oregon had one of the largest numbers of post-inauguration actions anywhere in the nation, and we engaged as new groups working for human dignity formed in towns of 500 and 50,000 alike.
Our resistance is beginning to bear fruit. Grassroots pressure both here at home and across the country has stalled the Muslim bans and defeated Trump’s first attempt at repealing the Affordable Care Act. Women’s marchers, protesters at airports, deportation resisters, faith based sanctuary leaders, Indivisible chapters, small town leaders of human dignity groups …. this didn’t come from just one group but from all of us. We can see what’s possible not only in national headlines, but in the persistent organizing of community leaders in rural and small town Oregon, many of whom have planted the seeds of resistance for years and now find renewed energy and alliances to take action. Our organizing has shown us that resistance is possible in the era of Trump. And now we have to keep it up. We need to continue the work because we know this fight isn’t even close to over.
There are so many of us ready and committed to stand on the side of justice and willing to take risks to do so. We want to build together and create safety for our neighbors. We want to tear down divisions in our community, and stop our tax dollars from funding border walls. We want to welcome our immigrant and refugee neighbors, and end the costly wars that drive people away from their homes.
Community to community in Oregon folks are setting up “know your rights” trainings, rapid response networks, phone trees and sanctuary spaces to respond to the rise of both vigilante and state violence against the most vulnerable among us. We’ve been flooding the answering machines, regional offices and town halls of Members of Congress, especially those who play big roles in the Trump agenda. We are organizing with a passion for resistance in our hearts and with a vision of community resilience in our minds.
In June, we invite you to join other rural Oregonians from around the state to build from this resistance, to help develop strategies for our organizing, coordinate our work across counties and districts and be a part of envisioning what is to come next out of rural Oregon.
On Saturday, June 3rd at this year’s Rural Caucus and Strategy Session we are coming together as leaders, fighters and activists from across the state. We’ll share stories of what is working in our communities and develop strategies to keep each other safe and resist deportations, state violence and hate crimes. We want to hear about the hard work that you are doing in your hometown and use our collective knowledge from the frontlines to think through the fight ahead of us.
On Saturday night, after our work is done, we’ll party! As Emma Goldman said, “if I can’t dance, I don’t want to be a part of your revolution!” ROP is turning 25 this year and we intend to dance! The road ahead is tough, and the trust we need to get through it together needs more than meetings and email lists to build. There will be good food, music, and friends from across the state.
On Sunday, June 4th, we’ll gather again for the Rural Organizing Institute to learn the skills we’ll need to do this work for the long haul. We know that this a critical time for our organizing to be sustained and impactful, and we’re thrilled to share some of the strategies that will help groups thrive.
WHAT IS THE ACTIVITY?
Kitchen Table Activism is a shared action we can all take from our homes, with our human dignity groups or even a group of friends, family and neighbors. This month’s KTA is to decide who will represent your group and your community at the Caucus this year.
A few highlights from these year’s Caucus include:
- National perspectives on the Right and innovative organizing in response: We’re inviting some incredible speakers from other parts of the country so that we can hear about the ways our work here at home connects to a larger movement for human dignity and justice
- Strategies for community resilience and rapid response: Sharing models for different ways that communities can stand with immigrant community members, resist deportations, respond to hate crimes and funding cuts to community infrastructure
- Youth organizing: Taking leadership from young rural leaders who are building solidarity in their communities
- People’s Movement Assemblies in Oregon: Bringing an organizing and community building strategy that has been used by liberatory movements across the globe to rural Oregon
- A party that you will remember for years to come!
- A Rural Organizing Institute that sends you home with the skills and resources you need to stay strong and active in these times
STEPS TO COMPLETE THE ACTIVITY:
1. Gather your leadership team, fellow organizers, and friends. Pull out your calendars and mark the weekend of June 3rd-4th, and the early bird registration deadline of April 15th!
2. Decide who will be a part of your group’s Caucus team this year! Groups say they get the most out of the Caucus when they send a team of 3-5 people. Decide who of your group wants to stay an extra day for the Rural Organizing Institute on Sunday.
3. Register! You can register online or download a printable registration form here. You can also email email@example.com to have a registration form emailed to you. Early registration makes Caucus planning easier for ROP staff, so please register early and take advantage of the early bird discount! To receive the early bird discount, ROP must receive your registration fees by April 15th.
4. See you in Madras! Registrants will receive a confirmation packet that includes details and directions a few days before the Caucus. For those who request housing or carpools, you will hear from us in the next few weeks.
Background: Kitchen Table Activism (KTA) is a seasonal project of the Rural Organizing Project. The theory is that basic steps can lead to powerful collective results as local groups gather to complete the same action throughout the state. ROP works to keep the tasks achievable so that groups with other projects or groups with limited immediate energy can still manage to complete regular KTAs.