Oregon State and Community Leaders Unite Against Hate and Election-Related Violence
*A Joint Statement by Elected Officials and Civil Society Groups*
Oregonians have faced tragedy on multiple fronts this year, and we anticipate further challenges in the weeks to come. The pandemic, wildfires and misinformation about racial justice protests have served to boost fear and anxiety—providing a fertile environment for alt-right and paramilitary organizing. These groups preach fear and division, seize on civil unrest and chaos to recruit and build power, and promote violence. They see Election Day as their next great organizing opportunity.
We unequivocally condemn white nationalism and other movements that use bigotry to build political power. We also condemn political violence and accelerationism from any part of the political spectrum.
Paramilitary and alt-right activity is a challenge to our values of inclusive democracy in Oregon. These groups use threats, intimidation and even violence to chill democratic practice, threaten community safety and undermine civil society. But we won’t be intimidated. We believe in an Oregon that is inclusive, and protects the right of every person to live, love, work and worship free from fear and bigotry. We are committed to working together to protect our democracy and democratic institutions.
We have seen in recent weeks that when we come together with one voice, we can shut down hate and violence. We are building upon that foundation to prevent extremists from gaining a greater foothold in our state. Aligning our voices and the power of our positions as government or civil society leaders can close the space for white nationalist and alt-right groups to spread fear.
We are unified in these beliefs and we will use every available power and resource of our state and local governments, and our communities, to protect our values, our democratic institutions and our most vulnerable community members.
As elected leaders, we will:
*Continue to communicate clearly that voter intimidation and political violence will not be tolerated, and follow those communications with action;
*Use the power of our offices to pursue legal remedies to prevent and enforce consequences for voter intimidation and political violence, including:
- Providing clarity from prosecutors and law enforcement about consequences for voter intimidation and a commitment to enforce laws in an unbiased manner;
- Working with election officials and law enforcement to prioritize de-escalation;
- Pursuing all legal options to prevent the use of firearms for intimidation purposes at or near polling places;
- Pursuing the enforcement of any applicable anti-paramilitary laws;
- Opening lines of communication with community partners who can flag emerging situations that require intervention;
- Providing straightforward options for community members to report voter intimidation;
*Clearly set expectations for voters that they will be able to vote safely, freely, and without intimidation harm.
As civil society leaders, we will:
*Work within our communities to provide safety information so that everyone is able to vote free from fear and intimidation;
*Work with elected officials to communicate the needs of our communities and propose aligned strategies to meet those needs;
*Strengthen our relationships with other civil society organizations so that we can act quickly and in a coordinated manner to respond to any incidents of voter intimidation or political violence.
We call on our colleagues in government, in the business community, in faith communities, in organized labor and nonprofits across Oregon to join us. When we all come together, there is no room for hate or violence.
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This form was created inside of Western States Center.