Monday, Sept. 19, at 5:00 p.m., members of Sunrise Corvallis, a youth-led hub of organizers committed to fighting for climate justice at the city level, along with other environmental activists, protested in front of the downtown Corvallis Fire Department to demand rapid action from the Corvallis City Council to address the compounding climate and housing crises.
Among these demands were for the city to pass the Corvallis Green New Deal for Climate and Housing Justice (CGND), a resolution which identifies ongoing camp sweeps; lack of accessible, affordable, and emergency housing; and the criminalization of houselessness, mental illness, poverty, and addiction as urgent climate-related injustices.
“People in our community are being treated with an incredible amount of indignity and cruelty,” said Carly Werdel, an organizer with Sunrise Corvallis. “When we talk about sweeps, this is not a nice little broom clean-up. We’re talking about bulldozers – bulldozers that are coming through and destroying the tents and the things that people are using to stay alive. So what we mean when we say ‘Stop the Sweeps’, is we mean stop the criminalization of homelessness, because housing is a human right, and to have our local or state governments unjustly denying people the right to take actions that they need to take to survive in a capitalist world where people are not able to access the housing that they need is inhumane.”
Sunrise Corvallis members have stated that when it comes to concern about the local impacts of climate change, historically marginalized communities – including and especially those facing constant displacement and dispossession as a result of the sweeps – who are at higher risk of exposure to and being harmed by these impacts must be centered in any decision-making.
“We need to make sure that we are prioritizing those who are most vulnerable in our community, and people without housing are extremely vulnerable to the climate crisis,” said Werdel. “At the same time, the climate crisis is making all of us vulnerable to being without housing, because a wildfire or a flood could wipe out any of our houses in a day.”
“A lot of people are under the assumption that it can never be you,” said Adrian Cercy, a queer, disabled community member and activist. “And a lot of us working-class folks are just one really crummy year or situation from being in those tents, and not having a reliable source of income or a place to stay. It can be you, and we need to stand up for our unhoused neighbors, because a lot of times they’re busy working on how to survive and not how to [testify before] government officials.”
City Council was originally supposed to vote on whether to pass the CGND at yesterday’s meeting, but have pushed this out to their Oct. 3 meeting.
Connect with Pride and SOL: This week, the Oregon State University Pride Center, in collaboration with the SOL LGBTQ+ Multicultural Support Network, an organization that focuses on providing support to Queer, Trans, and Intersex Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (QTIBIPOC), will be hosting two welcome week events: LGBTQIA2S+ Connect, and Sol & Pride Open House. The former will be a small tabling event with information and resources to introduce incoming OSU students to the Pride Center and SOL, as well as ways to get involved.
“We try to table with resources when possible, because a lot of the time students don’t even know that we exist, and that’s especially the case with SOL LGBTQIA2S+ Multicultural Support Network,” wrote Kailea Warouw, a student employee of SOL, in an email. “More often than not, many Queer and Trans BIPOC didn’t even know there was a space for them. The Connect event is a chance for them to meet some of our staff, use our resources, and ultimately decide whether or not they would like to be in community with us in the future.”
For the Connect event, Warouw said the title was very much intentional.
“We’re always striving to uplift identities in our community that are often overlooked or forgotten in conversations,” she wrote. “Here at SOL, we value intersectionality and acknowledge that many people in our community may identify with more than one label. We use ‘LGBTQIA2S+’ in hopes of not only uplifting asexual-spec, intersex, and Two-Spirit folks, but also letting them know that they belong here in our spaces.”
While the Pride Center building will be undergoing renovations during the academic year, Warouw said that staff have been working very hard over the summer to make the center’s new, temporary space feel welcoming and comfortable for the communities they serve.
“Being in a more accessible part of campus will only benefit us right now – especially since it’s around where a lot of peoples’ classes are,” wrote Warouw. “SOL’s goal right now is to create a comforting place for QTIBIPOC while the new Pride Center undergoes renovation… The old Pride Center made it really hard for us to hold large gatherings because of how small it was, but now that we’re in a bigger space we’ve been planning to have more events in-center!”
The LGBTQIA2S+ Connect event will take place on Thursday, Sept. 22, from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. at the Memorial Union (MU) Brick Mall; the SOL & Pride Open House event will take place on Friday, Sept. 23, from 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. in room 112 of the Student Experience Center (SEC). Accommodation requests related to a disability can be made to Pride Center Director Cindy Konrad by sending an email to email@example.com or by calling 541-737-9969.
Black Women’s Equal Pay Day Trivia: On Wednesday, Sept. 21, the Center Against Rape and Domest Violence (CARDV) and the Linn-Benton NAACP branch are co-hosting Black Women’s Equal Pay Day Trivia, an event intended to untangle the concept of pay equity and increase local awareness of wage gaps experienced by Black women.
Equal Pay Day, which was observed this year on March 15, originated in 1996 as a national public awareness event to highlight the gender wage gap – however, it has historically been an acknowledgement of the gaps experienced by cisgender white women, not recognizing that women of color, disabled women, and queer and trans women are paid even less. Because of the various pay disparities that exist between Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian and Pacific Islander women in the U.S., Equal Pay Days are observed annually for each demographic; this year, Black Women’s Pay Day is Sept. 21.
“It is imperative we demand pay equity for Black women,” reads a statement from the Equal Pay Today project, “many of whom are leading their communities in organizing against police violence and systemic anti-Black racism – including where it shows up in the workplace.”
Food will be provided by Terra’s Tastee Treats, a local, Black woman-owned homestyle southern desserts, soul food, and BBQ food truck. Registration and attendance is free, though a $5 donation is suggested per person. All proceeds from the event will go toward CARDV and the Linn-Benton NAACP, which will provide prizes for the winning teams of each round of trivia.
The event will take place at Beer Place, located on 401 SW Jefferson Ave., from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. To register and learn more, click here.
Put It on The Tab: Kinetic Bagel Institute, located on 250 NW 1st St., recently launched “The Tab”, a program that allows people who are low on funds to have a free bagel with a spread of their choice and/or a cup of coffee when they place an order.
“We’ve always had an unspoken policy that if someone asked, we would give them food and coffee,” said Greg Alpert, the owner of Kinetic Bagel.
As for the inspiration behind The Tab, Alpert said that one of the shop’s customers had recently traveled to Missouri, where they encountered a bagel shop in the city of Columbia – Goldie’s Bagels – that offered free bagels and coffee to anyone who couldn’t afford it by charging the orders to the restaurant’s “Neighbors Account”.
“The idea was that someone could come to the counter and say, ‘I’d like a bagel with cream cheese; my neighbor is going to pick it up,’ or ‘It’s on my neighbor,’” he said. “I think part of the problem is people have a hard time asking; so even saying, ‘My neighbor is going to pay for it,’ I felt might still have been hard for some people. So we came up with The Tab, and someone can come in and just say, ‘I’d like a bagel with cream cheese or spread and/or a cup of coffee – please put it on the tab.’”
Alpert believes having this language available will help relieve some of the social as well as personal shame and stigma experienced by those in poverty – which may otherwise prevent folks from asking for a free meal when they need one.
“I don’t think anyone really wants to be in a position where they have to rely financially on other people, let alone verbalize it,” he said. “So if we can take that out of the equation entirely with a term like ‘The Tab’, I think that will encourage more people to want to use it. On top of that, if people want to pay it forward by putting money into the tab fund, it’s kind of a twofold win in that people who need a meal can get it pretty simply, and the community can also contribute in a way that they know where their support is directly going.”
Thus far, Alpert said there has been a large outpouring of support – including financially – from the Corvallis community for the concept, and that the shop is now waiting for more people to use it. Employees have been distributing flyers in places around Corvallis they believe would be helpful, including Room at the Inn, an emergency shelter for women, and the South Corvallis Food Bank.
“We’re trying to get the word out now to people who need it,” he said. “We have enough flyers right now to the point where if someone wanted to take one and put it up somewhere, they could do that. I don’t doubt that almost everyone that’s commented on [this project] has someplace in mind that they would like to see targeted, and that’s great; that’s the whole idea. Ultimately, I would love to see this getting to anyone who needs it, but families in particular would really be ideal in my mind.”
Kinetic Bagel is open Wednesdays through Sundays from 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. For those interested in contributing to The Tab, let staff know with your next order; they’ll pay down the balance with any amount you’d like to give.
By Emilie Ratcliff
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