From the Director – May 2018

By Janet Byrd

Happy May! The sun is shining, the temperatures are rising, helping to fuel energy for change in our communities. That energy is a good thing, as there’s lots to keep us busy. The May primaries are almost here, and we’re already looking ahead to both the November election and the 2019 Legislative session. As an organization that works a lot on policy and with elected representatives in Salem, we know two things with certainty. We know that representation matters and that there are ugly and hateful undercurrents at play in our political environment. Your voice and your vote have never been more important to make Oregon the state we need it to be! Find the candidates who represent your interests and your priorities, make sure your registration is current, and VOTE!

Oregon gets attention for its leadership in many arenas – our new auto-enroll retirement savings plan and our expansion of health care coverage to cover all kids are good examples – but there are challenges to progress that demand our attention and our action. One we’re particularly concerned with here at NP is IP 22. This initiative petition, now in circulation for placement on the November ballot, is sponsored by an organization that’s listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a verified hate group. We urge you to refuse to sign the petition and to be ready to fight back against hate if it qualifies for the ballot.

This new climate of fear and hate that we’re living in is challenging us to be better and louder messengers. NP has worked on strategic communications and messaging for many years now, and in the past we’ve pushed for language that builds a broader consensus and brings us together. In this current reality we know that we must be bolder, and refuse to be brought towards the center if hate is part of the conversation. Our colleagues at the Opportunity Agenda and National Council of La Raza have been working to provide guidance for advocates for this new age. Their advice has helped us re-think our approach.

As always, when we reflect on the work ahead we’re most grateful for the partnership of people like you, and the leadership that we see all around us in our communities. Thank you for being with us on this path towards a better Oregon.