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Your power & persistence pays-off in Salem!

Posted by Jamee Greer at Jul 12, 2017 02:28 PM |

It’s a wrap! The Oregon Legislature ended last week, and we have massive victories to celebrate. Thanks to you, we carried some pieces of key legislation across the finish line!



It’s a wrap! The Oregon Legislature ended last week, and we have massive victories to celebrate. Thanks to you, we carried some pieces of key legislation across the finish line:

16991912_10154184905322077_6927690770705789738_oAfter nearly four years of hard organizing, political education, and culture change work, activists like you helped to pass The Reproductive Health Equity Act, a groundbreaking bill that ensures basic health services, including abortion and postpartum care, will be covered by insurance plans in the state. Now every Oregonian will be able to decide when and whether to become a parent — whatever their income, type of insurance, citizenship status, or gender identity and expression. This victory is the result of a forward-thinking, inclusive campaign that uplifted the leadership of Oregonians of color — and absolutely would not have happened without the dedication and persistence of membership in the Center’s We are BRAVE (Building Reproductive Autonomy and Voices for Equity) cohort.  

Together we passed SB 13, requiring school districts statewide to implement curricula developed by Tribes in Oregon covering tribal history and sovereignty. Carried by Rep. Tawna Sanchez (Shoshone-Bannock, Ute and Carrizo), and at the request of Governor Kate Brown, SB 13 fills a critical gap in our children’s education in Oregon: by the 2019-2020 academic year, all districts must teach the Essential Understandings of Oregon Indians curriculum. Oregon joins other states in our region like Idaho, Montana, Washington and Wyoming in building a fundamental understanding of tribal literacy and history among all K-12 students.


Western States Center staff with We are BRAVE partners and Rep. Diego HernandezAnd finally, Oregon became the seventh state to expand its Medicaid program to cover undocumented immigrant children. The culmination of almost ten years of hard work led by We are BRAVE cohort members at Oregon Latino Health Coalition, this is a victory for advancing health equity for our immigrant communities, and means more than 17,000 children will have safer, healthier childhoods.

While we celebrate these important victories for our communities, we must note that there were terrible missed opportunities to create real revenue reform that will be even more necessary as federal programs shrink under austerity. The budget crisis is an example of how much racial equity work remains to be done: we cannot reduce disparities based on race without increasing the stability of public education, housing, health care access, treatment programs and more, all of which are necessary to reduce disparities in outcomes.

The wealthiest Oregonians cannot be made even wealthier while leaving our essential public services starving for revenue. Western States Center and our allies will make sure that your voices are heard next session to reform Oregon's tax system and ensure our state has the resources so all families can thrive.

Thank you for all of your hard work this session to bring these historic, monumental victories to pass! Please consider giving a gift to Western States Center to help us continue our work.

And thanks to a generous matching gift, all donations received of up to $5,000 will be matched dollar for dollar!

Click here to give a gift online! Even $5-$10 helps us continue our work for justice.

In solidarity and celebration,

Kelley, Amy, Se-ah-dom, Tashia, Steve, Jamee, Beatriz, Angela, Kawa & Chandani
Western States Center
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