We Are All Oregonians
I have a sad story, and a bit of hope to share with you today.
Last month I drove down to Newport for the No Hate rally responding to national marches by the “Alt-Right” and white supremacists. As I arrived, an individual was confronting the group, shouting and cursing angrily.
He then got into his car and hit the gas, hard, screeching out of the parking lot the wrong way through the entrance just as I was pulling in. I managed to swerve out of his way, but another demonstrator or a passerby could easily have been hurt or killed. As he drove away, “gesturing” at me, I noticed children in the back seat.
This is not the most dramatic exchange our nation has witnessed in recent weeks, but it is sadly characteristic of incidents we’ve seen from Charlottesville to Seattle. Quite simply, there is a malaise adrift in our country.
It begins at the top with travel bans, border walls, and tweets denigrating transgender service members. There are threats to immigrants who were brought here as children and have made good lives in their adopted country. That culture of fear and vindictiveness filters into our communities.
Slurs are murmured at the market. Far too many kids are bullied in school because they are perceived as different. Confederate flags flying from pickup trucks have become commonplace. And then one day we wake up, as we did here in Lincoln City recently, to find swastikas painted on three small businesses. Where does this all end?
We are all Oregonians. We understand that our differences are something to be celebrated, not feared. We recognize that our diversity makes us stronger. And we know that a swastika painted on any home or building is an attack on every home and every building.
Earlier this year, three Oregonians stood up on a train in Portland to protect young women being threatened. Tragically, two of them were killed and the third seriously wounded. But their example was inspiring. I trust that each of us has the courage to stand up and help a stranger, regardless of personal risk.
Would you stand up to help someone who looks different? Who prays differently than you? Who lacks a job or housing? Who comes from another country? Who was born with a different assigned gender or sexual orientation?
Could you stand up to defend someone who votes differently than you?
We need to learn to talk with each other. Learn from each other. Respect each other. As I said before, we are all Oregonians. Our differences are something to be celebrated, not feared.
So how do we come together when it seems each day we seem more divided and more confronted?
Below, I’ve attached a Resource Guide I recently found from the Southern Poverty Law Center. The full document can be read online here.
“Ten Ways to Fight Hate: A Community Response Guide”
Bias is a human condition, and American history is rife with prejudice against groups and individuals because of their race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or other characteristics. As a nation, we’ve made a lot of progress, but stereotyping and unequal treatment persist.
When bias motivates an unlawful act, it is considered a hate crime. Most hate crimes are inspired by race and religion, but hate today wears many faces. Bias incidents (eruptions of hate where no crime is committed) also tear communities apart and can escalate into actual crimes.
Since 2010, law enforcement agencies have reported an average of about 6,000 hate crime incidents per year to the FBI. But government studies show that the real number is far higher — an estimated 260,000 per year. Many hate crimes never get reported, in large part because the victims are reluctant to go to the police. In addition, many law enforcement agencies are not fully trained to recognize or investigate hate crimes, and many simply do not collect or report hate crime data to the FBI.
THE GOOD NEWS IS… All over the country people are fighting hate, standing up to promote tolerance and inclusion. More often than not, when hate flares up, good people rise up against it — often in greater numbers and with stronger voices.
This guide sets out 10 principles for fighting hate in your community.
1 ACT: Do something. In the face of hatred, apathy will be interpreted as acceptance by the perpetrators, the public, and — worse — the victims. Community members must take action; if we don’t, hate persists.
2 JOIN FORCES: Reach out to allies from churches, schools, clubs, and other civic groups. Create a diverse coalition. Include children, police, and the media. Gather ideas from everyone, and get everyone involved.
3 SUPPORT THE VICTIMS: Hate crime victims are especially vulnerable. If you’re a victim, report every incident — in detail — and ask for help. If you learn about a hate crime victim in your community, show support. Let victims know you care. Surround them with comfort and protection.
4 SPEAK UP: Hate must be exposed and denounced. Help news organizations achieve balance and depth. Do not debate hate group members in conflict-driven forums. Instead, speak up in ways that draw attention away from hate, toward unity.
5 EDUCATE YOURSELF: An informed campaign improves its effectiveness. Determine if a hate group is involved, and research its symbols and agenda. Understand the difference between a hate crime and a bias incident.
6 CREATE AN ALTERNATIVE: Do not attend a hate rally. Find another outlet for anger and frustration and for people’s desire to do something. Hold a unity rally or parade to draw media attention away from hate.
7 PRESSURE LEADERS: Elected officials and other community leaders can be important allies. But some must overcome reluctance — and others, their own biases — before they’re able to take a stand.
8 STAY ENGAGED: Promote acceptance and address bias before another hate crime can occur. Expand your comfort zone by reaching out to people outside your own groups.
9 TEACH ACCEPTANCE: Bias is learned early, often at home. Schools can offer lessons of tolerance and acceptance. Host a diversity and inclusion day on campus. Reach out to young people who may be susceptible to hate group propaganda and prejudice.
10 DIG DEEPER: Look inside yourself for biases and stereotypes. Commit to disrupting hate and intolerance at home, at school, in the workplace and in faith communities.
To that end, yesterday I joined one of several gatherings in our district supporting DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals).
More than 11,000 Oregonians are affected by the Trump administration’s decision Tuesday to end this program that allows people brought to the United States as children to remain in the country under renewable two-year permits.
These are kids who know no other country as their home and were brought here through no fault of their own at a young age. These are neighbors who grew up here, obey the law, have jobs and families, and now live in limbo in their own communities. “Dreamers” are an integral part of our Oregon workforce and contribute over $6 million to our state’s economy.
Through DACA, America made a promise which Donald Trump is now reneging on. That’s not the American way. And the result will disrupt families, make our communities more fearful, less safe, and damage our economy. As we struggle to deal with difficult immigration questions, children should not be the target.
I remain grateful to be in a remarkable part of a wonderful country. We don’t all live the same, but certainly we can all live together. I’d be happy to hear your thoughts on the challenges we face.
I hope these tips inspire you to stand up, get involved, and take a stand for decency, community, and acceptance. Please feel free to share this newsletter and encourage your neighbors to act as well!
Author’s Note: I’m writing this in hopes that it can be used to lighten the load of marginalized folks, keeping in mind that not all marginalized people want to engage in the ally conversation, and that is perfect as well. For those who do, my prayer is that when someone asks you the question, “how can I be a stronger ally?” you might choose to save your breath/energy and send this in its place.
I have been asked by two dear friends, “how can I be a stronger ally?” Being the slow emotional processor that I am, I wanted to spend some time with this before I answered them. I surely appreciate and love these two individuals, and I appreciate their vulnerability in asking me this question.
I am not going to do much coddling here; I don’t know that I believe that love requires coddling. Here are six things you can do to be stronger allies.
To read the rest of the article, please go to: https://sojo.net/articles/our-white-friends-desiring-be-allies
Statement of NOW President Toni Van Pelt
August 12, 2017
Washington, DC – The white supremacists who launched a brutal protest against the city of Charlottesville, Virginia’s plan to remove a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee must be held to account for their violence and hate speech, says Toni Van Pelt, president of the National Organization for Women (NOW).
“Robert E. Lee was on the wrong side of history and so are the Charlottesville racists,” says Toni Van Pelt. “The majority of Virginia voters—like the majority of voters across the U.S., voted for the presidential candidate who defended inclusion over intolerance, healing over division and fairness over bigotry. NOW stands with our courageous sisters and brothers in Charlottesville, who are standing strong against hate and violence.”
NOW has always been committed to eradicating racism. In NOW’s original Statement of Purpose, the group’s founders wrote, “We realize that women’s problems are linked to many broader questions of social justice; their solution will require concerted action by many groups. Therefore, convinced that human rights for all are indivisible, we expect to give active support to the common cause of equal rights for all those who suffer discrimination and deprivation.”
Today’s violent march follows an evening “Unite the Right” rally at the University of Virginia where hate-filled rhetoric from Ku Klux Klan members and other alt-right activists was directed at African Americans, immigrants, and Jewish people.
Charlotte Gibson, president of Charlottesville NOW, said, “The white nationalists, neo-Nazis, armed militias and alt-right extremists who came to Charlottesville and tried to hijack democracy today will not succeed. Their rhetoric is never acceptable in a civilized society, and their embrace of violence must never be tolerated.”
“Donald Trump’s personal reliance on the language of confrontation, combat and intolerance has alarmed us all in recent days,” says Toni Van Pelt. “Trump may be sending signals and cues to those who would harm peaceful protesters, but the people of Charlottesville are standing up to Trump-inspired bullying and inspiring us all.”
For Press Inquiries Contact
M.E. Ficarra, email@example.com, (951) 547-1241
View this statement online by clicking here.
|The Oregon Women’s Foundation hosted a conversation on systemic racism in Oregon earlier in February, 2017. It was part of its “Eight that Can’t Wait” discussion series that arose out of its 2016 “Count Her In” Report on the status of women in Oregon|
Lisa Frack is the President of Oregon NOW (Andrea Paluso is a former Oregon NOW Officer). This Opinion appeared in the January 21, 2017 Oregonian
By Andrea Paluso and Lisa Frack
Today, one day after the inauguration of Donald Trump, thousands of Oregon women and other feminists will take to the streets in peaceful protest of the hate, racism and misogyny that fueled his campaign. Marches are happening across the globe, uniting women’s voices in opposition to oppression and in favor of equal rights for all. It’s an historic day that demonstrates the depth and intensity of resistance we hope will continue throughout Trump’s presidency.
The planning of these marches has been a subject of great discussion. The Oregon march, like the national march, started as an idea among a few white women who were looking for a way to protest the new administration. Given the magnitude of opposition to Trump, their idea quickly grew into something much bigger. They hoped that these larger gatherings would be a place for all women to come together in solidarity against a common threat. However, this good intention was unlikely to be realized given the historic and ongoing ways in which marginalized women of color, indigenous women, Muslim women, trans women, queer women, immigrant women and women with disabilities are so rarely invited into leadership roles when the conversation is convened by white women.
This failure to include all voices from the beginning is what caused groups like the Portland branch of the NAACP to not support the event, and for groups like ours to make plans to follow suit if actions were not taken to change course. To be clear, these conversations about feminism and inclusion are important and overdue. They represent the hard work of welcoming, listening, and partnering respectfully with people whose lives are different than our own.
Following the NAACP’s departure, the Portland march experienced a positive change of leadership. The march has since taken steps toward broad inclusiveness and is now being led by a person of color. But the problem of white women excluding more marginalized women — whether by intention or lack of understanding — is as old as the feminist movement itself. White women have long centered our own liberation over the liberation of all women, resulting in greater inequity among women (by race, gender identity, immigration status) than exists between white women and white men.
Truth is, women who are not straight, white and cisgendered face greater threats and oppression than those who are. Not acknowledging this is a form of racism. The families of historically marginalized women risk being torn apart by state-sanctioned violence. Their body autonomy is not just threatened by diminished access to reproductive health care, but through greater experiences of criminalization and draconian immigration and deportation policies. Economic opportunity has never been as available to more marginalized women as it has for white women.
Oppression at the intersections of race, gender, sexual orientation, or immigration status is more insidious and will require greater devotion from more of us to dismantle. As white women, we need to work harder to recognize the role we’ve played and continue to play in reinforcing oppression in various systems and spaces. Patriarchy, for example, is upheld not just by men, but by women, too.
How inspiring that we have this moment to stand by and for each other — today and for the long haul. What our feminist movement will need to achieve its goal of equal rights for all women and marginalized people everywhere is a broader understanding of and emphasis on how every woman experiences oppression uniquely. To truly move our country forward requires white women’s feminism and activism to include and center experiences that are not our own. An authentic women’s movement cannot focus only on those things experienced by all of us; we must focus on things that impact any one of us.
This work will not end on Jan. 21. The Women’s March is instead another beginning, a powerful opportunity to get it right for every woman. We hope you will help in all the ways you can to build the most robust and inclusive women’s movement we can. The one that all women need and deserve.
Andrea Paluso is executive director of Family Forward Action. Lisa Frack is president of the National Organization of Women, Oregon Chapter.
The Oregonian, Opinion, January 21, 2017