The Walk for Citizenship Leaving Madras
Oregon Strong Voice and the Center
Initiated by Oregon AFL-CIO, other unions and leading social justice and community organizations, Oregon Strong Voice is working to create a sustainable coalition of community based organizations and labor unions. There are chapters of Oregon Strong Voice in five Oregon areas: The North Oregon Coast; Polk, Yamhill and Marion Counties; Corvallis; Southern Oregon; and Central Oregon.
Oregon Strong Voice wants our community to reflect the values each of us care about; democracy, justice, human dignity, living wages, a safe community, secure retirement, accessible healthcare, corporate accountability for our environment and to working people, and social responsibility that improves our communities. We know that the forces working against these values are doing so in coordination, so we feel it is past time that we work together to ensure a better future for all of us.
Strong Voice is one example of a broader national movement among labor unions to engage more in advocating for all workers’ rights and for a strong middle class in America. This movement includes reviving the early 20th Century concept of community unionism, in which unions worked closely with community groups. Coalitions between unions and community groups are beginning to be developed in many places, but few, if any, are as well developed as the coalitions in Central Oregon.
The first planning meeting for Oregon Strong Voice was held in Central Oregon because of our long history of building successful coalitions among community and labor groups to achieve progressive outcomes in our conservative area. At that first meeting, a clear consensus emerged on the top priority: creating a Social Justice Center in Central Oregon. Our core groups and a few highly dedicated individuals decided to make the Center a reality and worked incredibly hard to found the Center in November 2012.
Our collective vision is to use our shared space, resources and working relationships to build a broad coalition of social justice allies in Central Oregon. We will actively support each other in building a unified movement of committed people working in solidarity to advance democracy, justice, and human dignity. Our ultimate goal is to create welcoming, vibrant, and sustainable communities in Central Oregon.
About the Social Justice Center
The Central Oregon Social Justice Center is the realization of vision held for at least 15 years by a broad range of social justice allies in Central Oregon. The Center currently houses community and social justice groups, local public and private sector labor unions, and justice-seeking law firms under one roof in downtown Bend, Oregon. See Our Groups. We are the only place in Oregon where groups like these share the same office and working space.
Working together in the same space not only allows us to share infrastructure and resources, but to communicate, brainstorm and assist each other on our projects and movements in real time. We also offer meeting rooms and infrastructure to a broad range of social justice allies who make important contributions to our community, but have more limited resources. Available resources include a conference room, photocopying and fax machines, this website and calendar, a new Center coordinator and the benefit of combined expertise and experience.
A Coalition With a Mission -- and a Vision
2013 Holiday Social Justice Wish List for Central Oregon
An Expanding Vision for the Future
Social and Economic Justice
Human Rights and Equality
Responsive and Responsible Government
A Long-Held Vision Realized
Bend Rally at Congressman Greg Walden's Office
in Support of Hunger Strikers for Immigration Reform
To build a coalition of progressive worker, justice, faith and environmental organizations that works in solidarity to create and maintain vibrant, nurturing, welcoming, and economically and environmentally sustainable communities in Central Oregon.
To improve our quality of life for all people by creating welcoming, vibrant and sustainable communities in Central Oregon.
From our common core at the Center, we have facilitated several powerful collaborations among local and statewide social justice allies. The most recent example includes the Walk for Citizenship, headed up by CUASA Oregon and Rural Organizing Project, supported by over a dozen local worker, community, social justice and faith groups. The walk was planned and launched from the Social Justice Center, taking advantage of our ability to convene such a broad coalition of allies in one place. Over three days (September 15th-17th), dozens of supporters of immigration reform marched 48 miles from Madras to Bend, from the heart of Central Oregon’s agricultural community to the Central Oregon office of our Congressman Greg Walden. They walked from town to town, holding vigils, mass, community conversations and rallies to rally for and celebrate communities that welcome all people and promote the dignity of all. The Center law firms helped with legal issues and local faith groups offered ongoing support with food, water and rides to those who needed them along the way. Dozens of activists marched all or part of the 48 miles Madras to Bend in support of comprehensive immigration reform.
Over the past several months a number of local groups have worked together to build a coalition to move forward with a unified vision for our community built around common core values.
A Foundation for Creative Collaborations
We are as excited as you are about the energy all over the world being poured into learning how to build functioning, sustainable coalitions among progressive groups and across issues and identities. Beyond the strategies and philosophies, the Central Oregon Social Justice Center is an actual, ongoing, multi-issue social justice collaboration by virtue of our combined commitments to build solidarity in our movements, but also by simple and everyday sharing of space, resources and ideas.