Causa Oregon organized a great lobby day in Salem today. Well over 100 people participated and visited legislators to talk about ending profiling (HB 2355), covering all kids with real healthcare coverage (SB 558 and HB 2726), stopping pay cuts for farmworkers and resisting deportations. It was a day for work, unity and progress, and it was a day to be part of a multiracial and multigenerational coalition led by women and people of color working on issues which matter to the people, and particularly to the working-class.
Governor Brown signed the Cesar Chavez service day proclamation today, giving us a forum for future organizing and mobilizing, and perhaps marking a turn in consciousness. Under current circumstances, honoring Cesar Chavez has special political meaning.
We need to be in solidarity with Causa and stay on the same page with their political agenda, which really does challenge structural racism in Oregon and builds the anti-Trump, pro-democracy movement. Yesterday's rally in Salem (covered elsewhere on this blog), the Salem-Woodburn school board elections, the on-going rapid response work in the Mid-Willamette Valley opposing the ICE raids and detentions, the science marches and the climate rally, and a big turn out for May Day in Salem all build on the work done today.
People should focus on what happens with the HB 2355 and SB 558 and HB 2726 legislation and on the many other bills focused on rent control, a fair work week, and environmental protections. In a year when there is a budget crunch, wining will be hard. But if we lose, it will be because we are not united as we should be and because politicians and their staffers are able to change the conversation from social justice to money. The right-wing is on the defensive in the face of peoples' movements, but the balance of forces can change.
The first two legislative visits I did were with representatives allied with our work. I heard Ramon Ramirez of PCUN speak passionately and well, but the young people and workers who were with us really carried the day with their stories. The last two visits were with staffpeople who didn't really get it but who were at least somewhat moved by what the young people and Ramon Ramirez had to say. Our job becomes winning over the center by remaining steadfast, and either winning over or neutralizing our opposition with strong arguments, organizing and tactics which put them on the spot.
Causa took a great step today. Let's follow up with more organizing, mobilizing and pressure.