In a time when Black, Indigenous and communities of color, and rural, low-income Oregonians are facing multiple, intersecting crises, we must come together as communities to care for one another. We must look forward and imagine what systems we want to create and rebuild, ones that lift us all up, and care for our natural spaces.
This summer, the leaders of the Oregon Just Transition Alliance have been on The Oregon Green New Deal Listening Tour, traveling across the state (via Zoom and the phone), asking frontline communities to share their perspectives and help shape our collective futures.
From Ontario to Coos Bay, Klamath County to Eugene, Woodburn to Salem and Rogue Valley to Portland, we’ve been asking:
- What are the greatest challenges, concerns and hardships you and your community face?
- How might your community be healthier, stronger and more resilient? What ideas do you have for not only surviving, but thriving?
- What can you imagine for your communities in a decade? What will the air, the water and the land be like? What jobs will our kids and grandkids enjoy? What will make your home resilient?
- What do you want to see in an Oregon Green New Deal? In January 2021, we will release a Listening Tour Report and the Oregon Green New Deal policy platform on a new website.
So far, participants from Rogue Valley, Lane County and Klamath County have voiced their concerns on issues like racism and white nationalism and access to basic human rights like water, affordable housing, health care and healthy food. These folks on the ground have ideas for building a future that doesn’t rely on fossil fuels or corporations, but one where communities and our natural resources are cared for and prioritized. At a Listening Session held by Unete, Center for Farm Worker and Immigrant Advocay and Beyond Toxics, Laura Ferguson from Talent, Oregon, observed: “By letting people suffer, we create a culture of suffering. What if instead we thought of joy as the new norm?”
As the Oregon Green New Deal Listening Tour Fellow, I am grateful for the financial support of both the Center for Sustainable Economy* and OPAL Environmental Justice, so that I can help organize, attend, listen and capture the thoughts and ideas of frontline communities across Oregon.
In January 2021, we will release a Listening Tour Report and the Oregon Green New Deal policy platform on a new website. I look forward to releasing the findings and helping to organize a policy visioning process for the Oregon Green New Deal policy platform.
Workers, families and frontline communities of Oregon deserve to be leading the way for these policy ideas, and we all deserve to breathe fresh air, drink clean water, work in sustainable and well-paying careers, have access to health care, live in stable housing and be surrounded by supportive communities. Our kids deserve to live in an even stronger, healthier Oregon than we do. The Oregon Green New Deal Listening Tour is one step of many towards making this vision become a reality.
Stay tuned for updates on a community-led policy visioning process, which will kick off later this fall! This is when we’ll be bringing together people with expertise on topics ranging from climate smart forests to regenerative agriculture to stopping fossil fuel infrastructure to ensuring strong workers’ rights.
Please feel free to reach out if you have questions, or if you’re interested in being part of the policy visioning phase, or a future Listening Tour! You can find me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit ojta.org to learn more and get involved.
*Support for this listening tour was provided in part by a generous grant from 11th Hour Foundation.