Demanding Equal Rights for All

From Protests to Progress

In beautiful and mostly peaceful Portland, we have experienced many weeks of civil protests. First, demanding an end to police brutality and systemic racism. Then, also resisting unwarranted and unwanted federal intervention. And finally refocusing on demands for racial justice and police accountability. Portland and Oregon are fortunate to have many politically active and informed citizens. We need our governments to listen and to act.

Fortunately, our local, regional and state governments have paid attention to our concerns. Elected officials have begun changing some important policies and laws. We want the federal administration to also take our concerns seriously. Federal action is needed to speak out against racism and to begin healing the the years of suffering that racism has caused. (See our newer website post about ways you and the League can enact real change.)

It is a ridiculous fiction that Portland is under siege by anarchists. We regret that a few of the demonstrators have set fires, thrown fireworks and damaged statues and stores. It is also very disturbing that a counter- demonstrator was attacked and killed. However, compared to the history of lives ruined and lost to racism, the amount of damage and violence in the weeks of protests is minor. Without federal interference, it would have been even less.

What is Portland really like?

While crowds gather downtown nightly, our quiet neighborhoods are filled with signs of support. Yard signs in gardens and chalk messages on sidewalks support the demands for changes in laws and policies.

Portlanders are friendly, kind, law-abiding and interested in government. Far from being anarchists, we are politically engaged, with a high voter turnout. In the recent Primary Election, record numbers of candidates ran for office. Portland citizens participate in our government not only by voting, but also by attending town halls and issue forums. Many volunteer to work on political issues with various  nonprofits, like the League.

What the League is doing

For decades, the League of Women Voters has worked for equal rights for all Americans. We emphatically support Americans’ constitutional rights of free speech and peaceful protest, easy access to voting and equality of opportunities for jobs, housing, education and health care. We fight for justice in our courts and in law enforcement.  We celebrate the diversity of America.

Most Oregon League members are not Black, Indigenous, or other people of color. But we seek to be reliable and effective allies.  We are calling for the changes needed to bring more justice and equality to our city, state, and nation. We seek to overcome the effects of racism in Oregon and in the US, which have harmed people of color.

As many have observed, this is a challenging and difficult time. Our country is facing the kind of crises that cry out for changes in attitudes and in government actions. The League is working to help enact these changes. We do this through advocacy in the US Congress, the Oregon Legislature and before the Portland City Council. Delegates to our national (LWVUS) Convention approved the resolution quoted below and the Portland League has approved a study of Police Accountability to identify the improvements needed.

Resolution approved at the 54th National LWVUS Convention – June 27, 2020 .

We Resolve First, That the League advocates against systemic racism in the justice system and, at a minimum, for preventing excessive force and brutality by law enforcement. We also call for prompt actions by all League members to advocate within every level of government to eradicate systemic racism, and the harm that it causes;

We Resolve Second, That the League help our elected officials and all Americans recognize these truths to be self-evident; that Black, Indigenous and all people of color (BIPOC) deserve equal protection under the law; and that we demand solutions for the terrible wrongs done, so that regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, disability, and gender identity or sexual orientation we may truly become a nation “indivisible, with liberty and justice for all”.

 

 

Help Fight Climate Change

Opportunities for member-volunteers

The fight against climate change has become more urgent as we face hotter temperatures worldwide. You can join the League in this fight.

There are 3 ways to help from your home

1.      Observer: a few hours a month. Sign in from your computer to listen to public meetings and hearings. This is an easy way to follow a legislative policy committee, a state agency and/or a commission. Take notes and report back to the LWV of Oregon.

2.      Advocacy representative: a few hours for many weeks. As an advocacy representative, you can work with the LWVOR Natural Resources and Climate Emergency teams. You can review proposed climate-related plans. Then, help these advocacy teams influence rules and policies. The League especially  needs volunteers to help us advocate for:

      • Energy Efficient Buildings
      • Protecting Public Health
      • Capping and Reducing Industry Emissions

3.      Legislative liaison: 10-30 hours – most months. Actively participate in the legislative process. You can recommend or write testimony on bills related to your policy topic. You also could lobby legislators, and/or work with other organizations fighting climate change. (This could mean spending some time at the Capitol with other volunteers. Choose how you want to work!)

What happened earlier this year

After years of work to develop a comprehensive climate bill, the 2020 Oregon Legislative Session ended without passing the bill. On March 8, 2020, the Governor released her Climate Policy Executive Order. You can read a summary of the Oregon Climate Action Plan (OCAP) and why it matters here. Or read Renew Oregon’s quick overview of the plan. Following the governor’s order, state agencies began making plans for reducing state greenhouse gas emissions.

Where does the LWV fit in?

The League works along with many other climate organizations, through Renew Oregon. We follow and have input into the rule-making process, as agencies carry out the governor’s order. We are focused on facilitating rapid reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.

The governor’s Executive Order moves the work on climate change into the work of state agencies and their commissions. Across the board, there is much to do.

New volunteers will be supported. Experienced volunteers will provide information and help.

Contact lwvor@lwvor.org to learn more and to volunteer.

How to Contact Elected Officials

Our NEWLY UPDATED directory of Elected Officials is an easy Guide

Do you have ideas or questions about voting or how your government is working for you? Here is a resource you can use. Just updated in January 2020, the League’s Directory of Elected Officials has information and ways to contact your government representatives. Everyone who represents you is included – from the President and US Congress, to City Councils, School Boards and Special District directors. If you contact them, they do pay attention! To download a copy, click here.

For more information, check these website pages:

New Directory of Elected Officials – Your Voice Counts

Want to ask or comment about what’s happening in your community? Concerned about state and national issues? Download your copy of the July 1 edition of the LWVPDX Multnomah County Directory of Elected Officials here.

The Directory of Elected Officials has phone numbers, email addresses and websites for government officials serving the people of Multnomah County. We just updated it by adding the new school board members who took office on July 1.

You can find how to contact President Trump, your U.S. Senators and Representatives, as well as state legislators, county, and city officials. You have a right to speak out on issues that concern you. Let your government know your questions and thoughts.

More Info

You can also find information in this directory about registering to vote. And there’s more contact info on this website under Advocate, Contact Elected Officials and also lots of voting info under Vote.

Make your voice heard and your vote count with information from the League of Women Voters!

 

June 4, 1:30 PM! Hearing on Climate Change #AllEyesOnJuliana👀

ninth Circuit hearing on climate

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Portland, Oregon heard the constitutional youth climate lawsuit, Juliana v. United States, on June 4, 2019. Counsel for youth plaintiffs, Julia Olson, argued on their behalf and an attorney from the Department of Justice argued on behalf of the federal government. The League of Women Voters supports the young people in their climate lawsuit against the US Government. You can view a recording of the hearing here.

What It’s about

In 2015, 21 young Americans filed a lawsuit ( Juliana v. United States) against the federal government for knowingly contributing to climate change and violating their constitutional rights. The Juliana v. US lawsuit established that young people have a constitutional right to “a climate system capable of sustaining human life.” That right is being violated.

the Portland Rally!

Hundreds of people rallied in Portand and watched a livestream of oral arguments at Director Park in downtown Portland. There was  a press conference with the young plaintiffs following the hearing. In March 2019, Multnomah County, OR, filed a brief supporting the plaintiffs. Chair Kafoury and Multnomah Commissioners attended the rally.

The YouTube video of the hearing had 4,890 views by the evening of June 4.