Thursday, April 20, 2017

Leading up to May Day in Salem, May Day, and after May Day

Yesterday we had the Rally for Water and Wildlife in Salem and today we had the healthcare rally. There is the March for Science on Saturday, a DACA support event at Chemeketa Community College on the 26th, the Beyond Toxics community event on the 29th---and there is May Day.

May Day is all-important for us this year.

The beat goes on with the May 3 lobby day in support of Oregon's pending Fair Work Week legislation and the Cover All Kids lobby day on May 12. Meanwhile, local anti-racist and immigrant rights organizing is continuing. Causa is doing much-needed fundraising. Mano a Mano is doing the youth organizing and youth sex ed work. The next Racial Justice Organizing Committee meeting is on May 15. The NAACP meetings are now so large here that we are meeting in a new location at Chemeketa Community College. The School Board elections are the best opportunity we have right now to organize in our community, fight the far-right and elect 3 progressive people---Kathleen Harder, Sherrone Blasi and Levi Herrrera-Lopez. All three races need help, but Levi Herrrera-Lopez should get special attention, help and contributions.

Today's healthcare rally drew its strength from intersectionality: the emcee is a union activist who comes from the LGBTQIA+ and HIV-positive community and the speaker from the coalition working on getting all kids healthcare coverage made it all very real. Last night I attended an interesting meeting at a church in Woodburn concerned with how people of faith are responding to ICE interference in the community. It hit me during the meeting that we don't often expect the churches to have financial resources at this point: I looked at the working-class, multigenerational and multiracial crowd sharing a meal at the church---several union members in the crowd---and felt the intersectionality of our people in a new way.

The Beyond Toxics event builds on the advice we got from Jo Ann Hardesty when she came to Salem: build with people of color and from the base up around issues which touch people's lives. For several generations now, since the Russian and Chinese revolutions, we have called this the "serve the people" model and ideology.

We're not in a situation now where we can afford to work separately or under white and male leadership or rely on liberal leaders. And if we hesitate or turn back, our opposition will take full advantage and try to turn it into a rout.

Do we really mean "The people, united, will never be divided!" when we chant this at rallies or not?


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