Andrew Wallner photograph of a Black Lives Matter peaceful protest in Portland Oregon

At Oregon Food Bank, we know we cannot achieve our mission to end hunger and its root causes without an inclusive democracy that works for all of us. The systemic inequities that drive hunger and poverty are the same inequities that keep voters from the polls and silence our voices in the halls of power.

We believe that the voices of our neighbors matter, that every vote counts, and that violence and hate have no place in our community.

Free and fair elections and the peaceful transition of government are core principles of a healthy democracy — and essential to carrying out our work to emerge stronger from the challenges we face. That’s why we’ve joined more than 75 fellow community organizations and elected leaders from across Oregon to share this message of solidarity:

Oregon State and Community Leaders

Unite Against Hate and Election-Related Violence

*A Joint Statement by Elected Officials and Civil Society Groups*

Oregonians have faced tragedy on multiple fronts this year, and we anticipate further challenges in the weeks to come. The pandemic, wildfires and misinformation about racial justice protests have served to boost fear and anxiety—providing a fertile environment for alt-right and paramilitary organizing. These groups preach fear and division, seize on civil unrest and chaos to recruit and build power, and promote violence. They see Election Day as their next great organizing opportunity.

We unequivocally condemn white nationalism and other movements that use bigotry to build political power. We also condemn political violence and accelerationism from any part of the political spectrum.

Paramilitary and alt-right activity is a challenge to our values of inclusive democracy in Oregon. These groups use threats, intimidation and even violence to chill democratic practice, threaten community safety and undermine civil society. But we won’t be intimidated. We believe in an Oregon that is inclusive, and protects the right of every person to live, love, work and worship free from fear and bigotry. We are committed to working together to protect our democracy and democratic institutions.

We have seen in recent weeks that when we come together with one voice, we can shut down hate and violence. We are building upon that foundation to prevent extremists from gaining a greater foothold in our state. Aligning our voices and the power of our positions as government or civil society leaders can close the space for white nationalist and alt-right groups to spread fear.

We are unified in these beliefs and we will use every available power and resource of our state and local governments, and our communities, to protect our values, our democratic institutions and our most vulnerable community members.

As elected leaders, we will:

  • Continue to communicate clearly that voter intimidation and political violence will not be tolerated, and follow those communications with action;
  • Use the power of our offices to pursue legal remedies to prevent and enforce consequences for voter intimidation and political violence, including:
    • Providing clarity from prosecutors and law enforcement about consequences for voter intimidation and a commitment to enforce laws in an unbiased manner;
    • Working with election officials and law enforcement to prioritize de-escalation;
    • Pursuing all legal options to prevent the use of firearms for intimidation purposes at or near polling places;
    • Pursuing the enforcement of any applicable anti-paramilitary laws;
    • Opening lines of communication with community partners who can flag emerging situations that require intervention;
    • Providing straightforward options for community members to report voter intimidation;
  • Clearly set expectations for voters that they will be able to vote safely, freely, and without intimidation harm.

As civil society leaders, we will:

  • Work within our communities to provide safety information so that everyone is able to vote free from fear and intimidation;
  • Work with elected officials to communicate the needs of our communities and propose aligned strategies to meet those needs;
  • Strengthen our relationships with other civil society organizations so that we can act quickly and in a coordinated manner to respond to any incidents of voter intimidation or political violence.

We call on our colleagues in government, in the business community, in faith communities, in organized labor and nonprofits across Oregon to join us. When we all come together, there is no room for hate or violence.

Elected & Government Leaders

Oregon Governor Kate Brown

Oregon Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum

Oregon Senate Majority Leader Rob Wagner

State Senator Ginny Burdick

State Senator Shemia Fagan

State Senator James I. Manning Jr.

State Representative Janelle Bynum

State Representative Maxine Dexter

State Representative Julie Fahey

State Representative Chris Gorsek

State Representative Akasha Lawrence Spence

State Representative Rob Nosse

State Representative Karin Power

State Representative Jeff Reardon

State Representative Andrea Salinas

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler

Portland City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly

Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz

Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty

Portland City Commissioner Dan Ryan

Thuan Duong, Equity & Inclusion Manager, City of Portland Housing Bureau

City of Portland Office of Equity and Human Rights

Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis

Eugene City Councilor Greg Evans

Eugene City Councilor Jennifer Yeh

Eugene City Councilor Emily Semple

Chair Joel Iboa, Eugene Human Rights Commission

Lane County Commissioner Joe Berney

Lane Community College Board of Education Member Lisa Fragala

Beaverton Mayor Denny Doyle

Durham Mayor Gery Schirado

Forest Grove Mayor Peter B. Truax

Gresham Mayor Karylinn Echols

King City Mayor Ken Gibson

Milwaukie Mayor Mark Gamba

Tigard Mayor Jason Snider

Tualatin Mayor Frank Bubenik

West Linn Mayor Russ Axelrod

Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury

Multnomah County Commissioner Susheela Jayapal

Multnomah County Commissioner Sharon Meieran

Multnomah County Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson

Hermiston City Councilor Roy Barron

McMinnville City Councilor Salvador Peralta

Salem City Councilor Chris Hoy

Civil Society Leaders & Groups

Nancy Haque, Executive Director, Basic Rights Oregon

Ashley Henry, Executive Director, Business for a Better Portland

Tyler TerMeer, PhD, Executive Director, Cascade Aids Project

Adriana Miranda, Executive Director, Causa Oregon

Marcus C. Mundy, Executive Director, Coalition of Communities of Color

Jake Cornett, Executive Director, Disability Rights Oregon

Andrea Paluso, Executive Director, Family Forward Oregon

Ricardo Lujan-Valerio, Director of Advocacy, Latino Network

David Saez, Convener of Latinx Alliance of Lane County

Christel Allen, Executive Director, NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon

Samantha Gladu, Executive Director, Next Up

Peter Starzynski, Executive Director, Northwest Accountability Project

Huy Ong, Executive Director, OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon

Beth Kessler, Interim Director, Oregon Council on Developmental Disabilities

Susannah Morgan, Chief Executive Officer, Oregon Food Bank

Judy Margles, Executive Director, Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education

Bobbin Singh, Executive Director, Oregon Justice Resource Center

Dr. Tom Hastings, Director, Oregon Peace Institute

Kelly Kupcak, Executive Director, Oregon Tradeswomen

Steve Pedery, Conservation Director, Oregon Wild

Board of Directors, Oregon Women’s Investment Network (WINPAC)

Emily McLain, Executive Director, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon

Reyna Lopez, Executive Director, PCUN, Oregon’s Farmworker Union

Jess Campbell, Executive Director, Rural Organizing Project

Meg Niemi, President, SEIU 49

Melissa Unger, Executive Director, SEIU 503

Lori Bosteder, Erica Barry, Carter McKenzie, Nadia Telsey, Rose Wilde and Kaseja Wilder,

Springfield-Eugene Showing Up for Racial Justice

Tony DeFalco, Executive Director, Verde

Eric K. Ward, Executive Director, Western States Center


Other Leaders

Former State Senator Jane Cease

Former Oregon Senate Majority Leader Diane Rosenbaum

Former Salem City Councilor Diana Dickey

Vote out hunger this election. Download a copy of the letter here. Photo Credit: Andrew Wallner