Growing up in South Salem in the 90s, MRG monthly donor Andrea Miller never quite felt like she was part of the Salem community. She is part-Filipina, part-Japanese and part-white, and her family came to Oregon from Hawaii. “There was no category nor community in Salem for me to fit into.”
She went away to college thinking she would never return to Salem, but experienced an awakening on a college trip to the U.S./Mexico border. “I talked with all sorts of people, from the border patrol to immigrants, and church folks. When I came back to Oregon I saw that there were things happening in my own backyard that have to do with immigration and racism.”
After that trip, she explored her own family history more deeply and heard stories about her family’s migration to Hawaii, and her grandparents work in the sugar cane fields. “There were so many parallels between my family and what’s going on today. In particular, in what’s happening to immigrants from Mexico.”
For Andrea, moving back to Salem to work for Causa Oregon, Oregon’s immigrant rights coalition, made sense. “Immigration is the civil rights issue of our time. In 40 years, we’ll be talking about this time period like we talk about the civil rights movement of the 1960s.”
And she’s found a whole different way to fit into her Salem hometown now. “This movement is part of my family history and my community. I have to be a part of it. I want to tell stories to my grandchildren about what we did.”
We recently asked Andrea why she became a monthly donor in 2010, and she responded, “If we’re going to create anything lasting or sustainable, we have to fund it. MRG is rare, because we’re willing to fund radical work, and we don’t make community organizations hide their true selves.” (Andrea says “we” because Andrea is not just a donor, but also has served on our grantmaking committee and Board of Directors!)
Thank you Andrea, for the many ways you are working for justice in Oregon.
Are you an Oregonian who wants to support Oregon’s social justice movement in the long term? Consider becoming a monthly donor like Andrea.