The importance of the Rogue Action Center community has never been clearer.
In 2020, our community faced…
A devastating fire.
White supremacist pushback against Black Lives Matter.
A need for LGBTQ+ organizing and resources.
Increased criminalization of homelessness.
A county proposal to triple jail capacity without investing in better alternatives.
We could not have met these challenges without the Rogue Action Center community and all of our allies.
Your volunteer work and financial contributions made effective responses on these issues possible.
Below is a brief summary of what we accomplished together in 2020 and an appeal for your help to expand the work in 2021.
FIRE RESPONSE: IMMEDIATE AID AND LONG-TERM ORGANIZING
The RAC community and partners have been essential in 1) providing immediate mutual aid for victims of the Almeda fire and 2) organizing for a rebuilding effort that results in more equitable and diverse communities, rather than gentrification and profiteering by wealthy developers and speculators.
Responded the morning after the fire (despite our own office burning down) by setting up mutual aid relief centers to receive and dispense food, diapers, and other essential supplies.
Served an average of 800 households per week in September and October, and continue to serve up to 600 per week at the consolidated location in Phoenix.
Co-founded the Rogue Valley Relief Fund in partnership with Rogue Climate, Southern Oregon Coalition for Racial Equity (SO Equity), Southern Oregon Health Equity Coalition, and Southern Oregon Rising Tide and hosted by MRG Foundation to raise funds to directly support fire victims. This funding has been used to purchase emergency shelter units, pay for hotel stays, get families back into stable housing by covering first and last months rent, and purchase essentials like heaters and beds. You can read more and donate here.
Made the difference in providing emergency shelter for thousands of impacted people, as well as gift cards for clothing, food, school supplies, and other necessities.
Focused on families that are not receiving support from FEMA or other government sources because they have been denied a path to citizenship.
Have worked closely with key Mutual Aid partners likeTalent Maker City, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Rogue Food Unites, Talent Masjid Al-Taweed Mosque, Rogue Climate, El Tapatio, Unete, Northwest Seasonal Workers Association, and many other community organizations and businesses.
The RAC and its partners have played a lead role in ensuring that those most impacted by the fire have a voice in shaping our communities’ future. We also are organizing to address severe problems that existed before the fire, including a serious shortage of affordable housing and exposure to unaffordable rent increases.
Helped generate media coverage in local outlets, PBS, the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Oregonian, and other outlets on the importance of bringing back all impacted families, including the large Latinx population, many of whom lived in trailer parks and apartment buildings that were destroyed and who do essential work in our communities.
Provided information to residents of impacted towns who have turned out by the hundreds for local city council town halls.
Coordinating weekly calls for information sharing on strategies and opportunities for restoring our community.
WORKING FOR RACIAL JUSTICE
The RAC has provided essential support to the movement for racial justice in the Rogue Valley that has involved hundreds of young people energized by surging national awareness of police violence and profiling.
Provided trained de-escalation teams for 16 Black Lives Matter marches or other events to help ensure safety at a time of increased white supremacist pushback.
Became the fiscal sponsor for Southern Oregon Coalition for Racial Equity (SO Equity) that provided critical leadership for those protests. Check out their ongoing work here.
Coordinated weekly de-escalation teams at the Talent Masjid Al-Taweed Mosque to ensure a safe space for prayer services despite white supremacist hostility.
Supported the development of a virtual meetup for queer & transgender Black and brown leaders to connect.
WINNING HEALTH AND ECONOMIC PROTECTIONS DURING COVID
The RAC has played an important coordinating role with community and state-level partners to push for protections for renters, houseless people, and others most vulnerable both to COVID and to the economic impact of COVID-related shutdowns.
Set up and ran weekly calls for coordination of community leaders on policies and precautions needed in Jackson and Josephine County.
Generated more than 200 calls and emails calling for specific actions by Medford, Ashland, Grants Pass, and the state.
Helped win immediate gains on safe shelter and health protections for houseless people.
Helped win increased funding for rent relief by Medford and Ashland and an eviction moratorium at the state level.
Helped to delay sweeps against houseless people living along Greenway and helped create pressure for the Medford Urban Campground.
LGBTQ+ LISTENING PROJECT + ONGOING RESILIENCY ORGANIZING
After Lotus Rising Project ceased operations, community leaders asked the RAC to provide financial and staff support and coordination so LGBTQ+ people in Jackson and Josephine Counties could identify needs and plan next steps.
Got direct input from more than 700 LGBTQ+ people, including youth, elders, people of color, Latinx, veterans, transgender, and rural community members..
Created a local resource list to share within the LGBTQ+ Rogue Valley community.
Held several conversation circles listening sessions for LGBTQ+ residents, including one specifically for queer and trans black, indigenous, and/or people of color.
Now preparing a report pointing the way to action on the LGBTQ+ community’s strengths, needs, and vision for the future.
ORGANIZING FOR ALTERNATIVES TO A NEW TRIPLE-SIZED JAIL
The RAC partnered with the National Alliance on Mental Illness chapter for southern Oregon (NAMI-SO) and others to defeat by a 71-29% margin a ballot measure proposed by Jackson County to triple jail capacity at a cost of more than $1 billion over 23 years with no investment in alternatives.
Organized a series of forums on how Marion County and Eugene reduce jail bookings and repeat crimes and save taxpayer money through prevention, crisis intervention, diversion, and treatment.
Turned out more than 100 people to testify at city councils and the Board of County Commissioners against the proposal and for better alternatives.
Supported an intensive educational campaign through traditional and social media.
Organized phone banking when COVID ruled out door knocking.
Coordinated a Real Solutions Coalition that is continuing to push for cost-effective alternatives to reduce the number of people jailed in the first place.
HELP EXPAND THE WORK IN 2021!
Together, the Rogue Action Center community needs to continue and expand the work described above, while adding a new youth organizer plus staff to concentrate on housing justice and affordability focused on those most impacted in Talent and Phoenix post-fire.
If you can volunteer, please go to https://www.rogueactioncenter.org/contact to talk about your time, skills, and interests. Everyone can help in one way or another.
If you can make financial donations, every bit helps. One most helpful way is to arrange to make automatic monthly donations so we know what resources we can count on. Click here or on the “Donate Now” at RogueActionCenter.org to sign up or to make a one-time donation.
You can also mail a check to
Rogue Action Center
PO Box 674
Talent, OR 97540
In solidarity and action,