On May 6th, 2018, Medford residents woke up to KKK recruitment flyers in plastic baggies with candy in them thrown in their yards like newspapers. This is only the most recent incident in a long history of white supremacist organizing, recruitment, and intimidation in Southern Oregon.
But our community hasn't let these incidents take place unopposed. In the last couple of years we have come together to rally for welcoming communities that are safe for all of us. We have called on our elected leaders for action and have passed resolutions welcoming all people at Medford, Phoenix, Talent, and Ashland city councils. We've canvassed local businesses, churches, schools, and nonprofits to put up "All Are Welcome Here" signs in their windows. And we won't stop standing up for inclusive communities.
Last week Alma Rosa Alvarez of the Racial Equity Coalition wrote a guest opinion in the Mail Tribune titled KKK Fliers Anything but Harmless in response. Community members volunteered their time over Mother's Day Weekend to post anti-racist flyers in the neighborhoods targeted earlier by the KKK.
Join us this Thursday as we call on the Medford Mayor, City Councilors, and the Medford police department to take a clear public stand for public safety for ALL of us, especially those targeted by recent white supremacist recruitment in our community. Note: Please save public comment time for Medford residents if you plan to come in support but live outside of the Medford City limits. Thank you!
Take Action Together When: Thursday, May 17th, starting at 6:00pm Where: Medford City Council Chambers, 411 W 8th Street, Room 300 on the third floor (there is an elevator) Can't Make It? Email the entire council and mayor at firstname.lastname@example.org
What can city officials do? It's important that our elected leaders not stand silent in the face of hate, especially with the dangerous legacy of violence that the KKK continues to this day. The tragic and bloody history of racism in America shows us what happens when people of good conscience do not act in the face of racism and white supremacy. Our elected leaders can and must make their stances clear. Here are some ways they could do that: Outright public condemnation of white supremacy, racism, and all forms of hate from Mayor and Council from the dais and in the form of a guest opinion in the Mail Tribune, A clear, public statement from the Medford Police Department that they will track, take seriously, and follow up on race or ethnicity based threats.
Preparing to Speak to (or email) City Council
Write it down - If you plan to speak at the hearing, write out what you want to say ahead of time.
Keep it personal - Why does a community that is safe and welcoming for everyone, and public officials who make that clear, matter to you?
Keep it brief - You'll probably have a maximum of three minutes to speak. Ten people speaking for one minute is more powerful than one person speaking for ten minutes. If you have more to say, you can always submit it through written testimony.
Stay on topic - Always tie your testimony to the subject at hand.
Make a clear ask - Make sure to bring your testimony back to a clear ask for action. (Example: "This is why I am asking you to make a clear, public statement that you will not allow anyone in our community to be targeted because of who they are.")
Relax - Remember to breathe and take your time. You'll do great!