Corvallis Social Justice: Letters for Liberation, Mid-Willamette Scene Seams, Motley Crew Publishing, NAACP Family Outreach

In collaboration with the Oregon State University Pride Center, a Corvallis community member has launched “Letters for Liberation”, an ongoing letter writing campaign to support people who are currently incarcerated in Oregon and throughout the U.S., including political prisoners, LGBTQ+ adults and youth, etc.  

In the form of a pamphlet, instructions and a list of resources have been prepared to help walk people through finding a pen pal, establishing and maintaining safe and respectful correspondence, and identifying helpful resources to offer such as art, literature, news, and connections to mutual and legal aid.   

The project was started by Tali Ilkovitch, a queer, transmasculine OSU student, community activist, and creator of the “Surviving OSU” zine.  

“I created the Letters for Liberation pamphlet and resource list to give folks on campus and in town a direct way to support and build coalition and meaningful relationships with folks who are incarcerated, and to address the harms of the carceral system,” said Ilkovitch in an email. “I was inspired by other folks on campus who had been gathering correspondence resources, particularly those I worked with during the Disarm OSU/We Can Do The Work campaign, many of whom were hoping to get a project like this established.”  

One of the goals for the project is to communicate to incarcerated individuals that people care about them and their access to safety and healing, and to show the Corvallis community the different opportunities in harm reduction and affirmation that such correspondence can provide.  

“It is designed to be a continuous resource for people that stays in our community’s institutional memory so that folks can start letter writing at any time with no deadline,” Ilkovitch said. “But please make sure to get back to your pen pals once you’ve established contact!” 

Ilkovitch, who serves as the Community Relations Representative for the OSU Pride Center, extends the center as a place people can use to receive mail from their pen pals if they are uncomfortable using their own return addresses. 

To join in and start writing, fill out this Google form. Once completed, Ilkovitch will share the pamphlet via email and can also facilitate providing materials needed for letter writing – stamps, paper, writing utensils, envelopes. – as well as any additional support.   

For questions about the project, or for those who would like to add to the resource list and/or get involved with running the project itself, you can send an email to 

A Motley Crew: Looking to amplify local voices and causes in the form of zines, flyers, or posters, but don’t know where to start? Motley Crew Publishing, a DIY zine publisher and distributor, is an emerging small project in Corvallis that helps provide access to design, printing, and/or distribution of these media. Thus far, the crew has helped create zines and flyers for local bands, organizers, and mutual aid groups including Stop the Sweeps Corvallis and the Corvallis Really Really Free Market as well as posters for Matchai Designs – a recently opened downtown art shop owned by 22-year-old artist and activist Brianna Rubio.   

“Our mission is to help expand folks’ voices, with a focus on political education,” said one of the Motley Crew members, who has chosen to remain anonymous. “I think working with organizations like Stop the Sweeps and the RRFM and small businesses like Matchai Designs is [our main focus] because these folks don’t have the budget like other gentrified businesses in Corvallis – or any budget at all.”  

The crew also offers to help distribute copies of people’s zines at local music shows, mutual aid events, and the like.  

“The zine culture in Corvallis is becoming larger and larger, and having accessible, written-by-locals zines is a way to spread and amplify voices for folks who need it,” they said. “As a person of color myself, and some of our designers being queer and neurodivergent or disabled, I think it also gives us a chance to use our designs to help local political causes and businesses that support us.”  

The crew remains committed to keeping the work they offer as accessible to the community as possible, so their current prices are purposely low. The first 100 copies of zines, posters, or flyers are printed for free, while every additional 100 copies cost only $10. They also offer postering for folks – putting up posters or flyers throughout Corvallis.  

Given that it’s still nascent, the crew encourages more people to reach out and ask them about how crew members can help with designing and/or disseminating their zines and posters, which can be done by sending them a direct message through their Instagram page. If you’d like to support Motley Crew Publishing, one resource that’s needed is additional assistance with printing. They also encourage people to learn about and support the causes and organizations they publish about.   

DIY is for Everyone: Polypore, a Corvallis-based emo/art punk band, has just launched an experimental project called “Mid-Willamette Scene Seams” – a safe space for folks throughout the Mid-Valley to find all kinds of ways to plug into the local and flourishing art, music, and organizing scene.  

Scene Seams is intended to give people opportunities to connect with each other and build community for a variety of purposes, whether it’s organizing shows; finding other musicians to play with; tabling artwork, zines, and/or community resources at events; or mixing and recording music.  

“This project is for everyone, but is particularly geared towards folks with systematically marginalized identities who may be relatively less safe when looking for others on sites like Craigslist and Bandfinder,” reads the band’s Instagram post. “Queer and trans folks, BIPOC, disabled folks, and all are welcome here.”  

As a band of trauma survivors, queer and trans people, and advocates and allies, Polypore strives to ensure that people of marginalized identities not only feel welcome and safe, but rather feel seen and celebrated at their shows, and urge other DIY musicians, artists, and organizers to recognize that they have a responsibility to do the same. The band members expanded on this and provided helpful tips and resources in a zine titled “Substance Free and Me: Accessibility in DIY Spaces”, which they created and released earlier this year during Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). 

The zine notes that the DIY scene is not just about sharing music and art, but about cultivating safer, community-building spaces rooted in disability justice and radical inclusivity.  

“It is about sharing culture, space, and energy with each other,” the zine reads. “It is important to acknowledge that DIY movements were founded by women, nonbinary people, trans people, and people of color. It is equally as important to acknowledge that these same people have been excluded by DIY spaces as they have been co-opted by whites and cisgender men.” 

Nevertheless, the band members argue, DIY is for everyone – including thsoe who are disproportionately “excluded from larger creative spaces and for-profit creative outlets.” 

To participate, fill out the Google form here. Once completed, Scene Seams’ moderator will review your submission and reach out with any pertinent follow-up questions, then share access to a spreadsheet that will allow you to see others’ responses and begin connecting with others.  

Since the project is so new, any feedback on how it could be improved is welcome. And of course, folks are encouraged to work together “to make this scene reach all stretches of the valley and include/uplift anyone who wants to be a part of it.”   

Local NAACP Event on Supporting Black Community Members, Families: This Saturday, July 23, the Linn-Benton NAACP Branch will be hosting their first informative and interactive Black Leadership and Family Caucus meeting at the Greenbelt Land Trust-owned Bald Hill Farmhouse, directions for which can be found here.  

The purpose of this gathering is to directly and intentionally engage with local Black community members and their families about ways the branch can better support and serve them.  

“This gathering is intended as the first of many to help the Linn-Benton NAACP center and engage with the needs of local Black community members to direct our ongoing justice and equity work throughout the Willamette Valley,” said Branch President Emeritus Barry Jenkins. “All Black community members are invited to attend, whether or not they are members of the NAACP, as we build and cultivate community connections.” 

Black NAACP members and non-members who are interested in attending are encouraged to register here no later than Friday, July 22. Food and games will be provided, as well as activities for youth. 

By Emilie Ratcliff 

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