I was barely thirty when I first became acquainted with the McKenzie River Gathering Foundation (MRG). Now, in my early 70’s, I find myself thinking about all that has transpired in the world over those years-plenty to be upset about for sure; but also plenty of meaningful activism and grassroots work in Oregon, much of which has been supported by MRG.

I feel grateful for all that MRG has done in these forty plus years. . . not only in maintaining its central mission of working for justice throughout the state, but also offering education, support and technical assistance to grantees and donors alike. I have especially appreciated the core belief that the various causes such as racial and economic justice, environmental justice, reproductive and other rights for women, justice for migrants, the rights of LGBTQ people, to name some…are all interrelated. None of us can rest until all of us are justly and fairly treated.

I am someone who benefited from the right to have an abortion in Oregon, in 1969 (one of two states at the time that had legalized abortions) and I also have close extended family members who arrived in our country without documents, therefore, I hold tremendous concern over two upcoming ballot measures, one of which would limit reproductive rights and another that would limit the civil rights of Oregon’s undocumented citizens.

I am reminded of some words I heard from Michelle Alexander (The New Jim Crow) this spring: she suggested that we not think of ourselves as the resistance as a result of the 2016 election. Instead, she encouraged the audience to remember that we are the leaders of progressive causes…and that those inhabiting and supporting the restrictive agenda of the White House are the real resisters. They are resisting social change and justice. The rest of us are at the forefront of honoring and working towards justice for everyone.

The original donors and activists who were the founders of MRG may not have realized they were creating such a remarkable legacy of supporting progressive activism. It is in the spirit of that legacy, with the immediacy of the challenges we face in Oregon including the upcoming ballot measures, that I have decided to substantially increase my annual donation to MRG. I would be honored if you joined me in contributing to the Democracy and Rights Fund.