Gratitude In These Times

Joseph Santos-Lyons

White voters handed down major defeats for progressive values, empowered by a culturally exclusionary vision of America.

Oregon's demographics are shifting significantly, with more than 22% of Oregonians identifying as People of Color and growing. White voters handed down major defeats for progressive values, empowered by a culturally exclusionary vision of America. Tarso Ramos writes, "Trump and others effectively mobilized White racial solidarity across class and gender—with unprecedented success." See more at Public Research Associates, We cannot be certain how the new balance of power will affect our communities, but if the incoming leadership bears any reflection of their past actions, will govern, but if the coming administration bears any relation to their lived history, our human and Constitutional rights are in serious jeopardy.

That feeling of 'oh shit' doesn't seem to be going away. For too many, this election will bring real pain and suffering to those we love. We've got much to process, and more to organize for. Yet in these moments, there are powerful signs of our progress. As I stood in a nearly empty ballroom at the Convention Center, and listened to one of the very last speakers, Chrissy Erguiza, the new Chair of the new Asian American and Pacific Islander Caucus, I felt deep gratitude in these times. Gratitude for:

-Chrissy and other emerging leaders of color within the Democratic Party whose vision, tenacity and gifts are central to our future. (Asian Pacific Islanders - join her caucus!)

-Electing powerful new voices from communities of color including Diego Hernandez, Teresa Alonso Leon, Janelle Bynum to the Oregon House, Jessica Vega Pederson to MultCo (joined by Lori Stegmann, who doesn't identify as a Democrat, but is the first Asian American on the commission, will make up a POC majority).

-A growing pipeline of progressive young leaders from communities of color, organizers who are putting their gifts in service with communities of color even when our orgs are young, challenging and complicated. The number of field organizers, communications and campaign managers of color in Oregon has grown exponentially in the last 10 years. There is a new cohort who are trained, sharp and connected.

-An emerging cohort of organizations of color that are grounded in clear strategies of change, accountable, and are applying power more consistently and strategically. Groups like Causa, Unite Oregon, PCUN, OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon, APANO and more who are increasingly leading major campaigns.

-Stronger, broader, and strategic alliances cemented through Measure 97, Our Oregon, and DPO leadership who are more present and making long term commitments to communities of color. The terrific leadership of Reyna Lopez, Emma Kallaway and so many organizers with roots in our movement building values who create trust and space for real partnership.

-Democratic political leaders who understand how race and gender are playing out, and are deeply conscious and active in linking with multiracial alliances for racial justice. Leaders who show up, who call us in, and who are committed to a shared vision for the future.

Curious your thoughts.

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