At Oregon Food Bank, we know that hunger knows no boundaries. Urban, rural and suburban communities alike are too often forced to make the impossible decision between food and other essential needs. In Oregon, many rural and remote communities face hunger and poverty at similar or higher rates than urban centers — compounded by challenges in accessing transportation, food assistance and more. We’re proud to partner with allies like the Rural Organizing Project (ROP) in addressing hunger and its root causes throughout the region.
The organization's mission is to strengthen the skills, resources and vision of primary leadership in local autonomous human dignity groups with a goal of keeping such groups a vibrant source for a just democracy. They are a statewide organization that supports a multi-issue, rural-centered, grassroots base in Oregon. They work to build and support a shared standard of human dignity: the belief in the equal worth of all communities, the need for equal access to justice and the right to self-determination.
Rural Organizing Project was founded in 1992 to break rural isolation and share resources across human dignity groups working for justice. Today, their network includes more than 80 autonomous volunteer-run groups in 34 of Oregon’s 36 counties and one tribal community, as well as hundreds of long-time leaders in all 36 counties and tribal communities. ROP’s network of groups is organizing to create or expand services and take care of our neighbors while working toward a vision of rural communities that have what is needed to thrive for the long haul.
In 2022, Oregon will mark the third decade since a grassroots network of rural human dignity groups came together to fight a homophobic ballot measure put forward by the Oregon Citizens Alliance in 1992. Recognizing that the struggle for LGBTQ+ liberation was (and continues to be) intertwined with the battles against racism, sexism, imperialism and economic exploitation, members of the ROP community chose to continue to support one another as an ongoing network of rural freedom fighters even after the defeat of Measure 9. And the rest is (30 years of powerful rural organizing) history!
Rural Organizing Project consistently works to expand economic justice for rural communities. From strategy sessions and hundreds of one-on-one conversations with leaders across rural Oregon, ROP has collectively created the Roadmap to a Thriving Rural Oregon, which names some of the top priorities, underdeveloped infrastructure and desperately-needed resources rural Oregon needs in order to move from surviving to thriving. The Roadmap connects the dots between organizing happening across our network’s 80+ autonomous human dignity groups so we can ensure all rural Oregonians have what we need.
The Roadmap uplifts broadband internet access for all, equitable access to healthcare for all, ending detention and deportation, universal childcare and much more. Organizers across rural Oregon have identified four core values in building a movement to thrive:
- We are all essential
- Healthy people make healthy communities
- Safe and welcoming communities
- Connecting our voices
ROP will continue using the Roadmap as a guide and vision for local organizing campaigns and for statewide policy advocacy for all rural communities to have what they need to thrive.
Support for ROP can be done in a variety of ways. Folks are invited to join in and build the Roadmap for a thriving rural Oregon. Find more information on their website, and make a financial contribution at www.rop.org/donate.Support ROP Today