Last fall, when I was the brand-new Executive Director of MRG, my first road trip took me from Portland to Southern Oregon and I wrote about my experience. I’ve now been on the job nearly one year, which made my second trip down the road so pleasing.
Everywhere I ventured, I was struck by the consistent effort to build and strengthen Oregon’s movement for justice. While my first road trip was full of wonder about the unknown, and charged with emotions of the nearly four decades since I’d revisited Oregon’s “South,” this time I had a chance to reconnect with hospitable groups and leaders I’d met before and have my community expanded through new contacts and introductions.
On June 5th, I hung out at radio KSKQ 89.5 and applauded the fact that since last year, the tower that MRG Foundation helped fund has been erected through significant volunteer effort. The voice that this station gives to so many in the community is not only intact, but also stronger.
I was delighted that the attendance was double what we’d anticipated at Tuesday’s Social Justice Happy Hour (at local favorite, Dragonfly Café & Gardens) and that our message, “it takes all of us,” truly resonated. Among those in the room were new activists seeking to connect with those who have years of experience, and those who wanted to bring their social justice work into the larger community to build and sustain the movement together. There were past grantees who continue to connect their successes to MRG’s early funding at a time when other funders wouldn’t take a chance, and there were current grantees who are now taking their work to a higher level to ensure justice is embedded in the south of Oregon.
It was wonderful to see members of Unete, Lotus Rising Project, Disabled United in Direct Empowerment, Peace House, Rogue Valley Oregon Action, and Southern Oregon Jobs with Justice. What a powerful collection of leaders doing good work for a just Oregon!
I thank each and every person who was in that room-- those who are continuing to outreach and build a powerful, inclusive justice movement and those who continue to give wisdom, wealth, and work to our foundation-- it really does take all of us. I can’t wait to return.
(photo by KSKQ of radio tower on Table Mountain, built by volunteers.)