Seattle Road Trip for the Social Justice Forum

Posted: April 23, 2013 in Uncategorized

Our trip to Seattle Social Justice Forum began early morning 6 am. Traveling Ibrahim and Sophia from Right 2 Survive and Cara Shufelt, from Rural Organizing Project (ROP). With lots of chit-chat we found out that ROP works to strengthen the skills, resources and vision of primary leadership in local, autonomous human dignity groups — including queer-identified groups, PFLAG chapters, and GSA’s — across Oregon with the goal of keeping such groups a vibrant source for a just democracy. Although LGBT issues have always been central to ROP’s mission and campaigns, its analysis is multi-issue, its activities are multi-tactic, and it strategically coordinates statewide organizing with key partners to counter the Right on every front in rural Oregon. 

We arrived to over 70 eager grantees. We broke out into groups. Our first group was the economic justice group. 

Economic Justice:
  • Indian People’s Action (Michaelynn Hawk (Crow), director) — IPA works in Montana’s urban areas, rural and border towns of several Indian reservations to organize for social, economic and racial justice. IPA’s economic justice work includes organizing for health care access and voting rights, working to stop online payday lending on reservations, and fighting racial discrimination in health care and insurance.
  • Right 2 Survive (Ibrahim Mubarak, co-founder/member) — R2S educates, organizes and mobilizes the unhoused community and allies to defend their civil, human, and constitutional rights; empowers houseless folks to challenge policies, practices, and laws which criminalize people for carrying out survival activities; organizes to create alternative and collective solutions to the lack of affordable housing; makes its own media to amplify the voices of unhoused Portlanders, and supports its members with fighting citations and accessing resources.
  • Voz Workers Rights Education Project (Romeo Sosa, exec. director) — Voz  is a worker-led organization that empowers immigrants and day laborers to gain control over their working conditions through leadership development, education and community organizing. Organizing activities take place in the MLK Worker Center which works as a non-commission hire site for day-laborers where disenfranchised day laborers get support to become leaders in fighting their economic struggle, discrimination, oppression and wage theft.

Our afternoon session was 

“Valuing Our Lives: Targeting State and Local Budgets”: What our governments choose to fund — or not — says a great deal about our values and priorities as a society. Community organizing strategies that target budgets highlight those choices, ask important questions, and provide an opportunity for those most impacted by budget decisions to offer solutions. These three organizations all have very different – but innovative and effective – strategies for budget reform that values lives. 
  • OPAL Environmental Justice (Jon Ostar, exec. director) — Exposing the hypocrisy of the transit authority’s budget by putting forth a fairer, more feasible, alternative budget created by the bus riders themselves. 
  • Partnership for Safety and Justice (David Rogers, exec. director)  — Pushing for a radical change in the Oregon state budget which would curb the unsustainable growth of the prison system and invest those funds in sensible sentencing reform, drug and alcohol treatment, and victims’ services.  
  • Right 2 Survive (Ibrahim Mubarak, co-founder/member) — Creating a self-sustaining village (by and for houseless people) while the City of Portland cuts shelter budgets, and advocating that the city fund mental health services, stop no-cause evictions, and turn empty buildings into shelters to address the homelessness crisis.

The event was amazing. All the grantees were excited and motivated to be involved in the giving project. We want to thank all who were involved in making the forum happen, the grantees who will be working to fundraiser and give out the grants. We appreciate all your hardwork. Thank you for involving us. Check out more of our picture from the event on our FB page.



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