02-19-2017  4:03 am      •     

Mackenzie River Gathering announced its end of year grants. MRG awarded $225,000 to 20 grassroots groups working throughout Oregon:

Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon, Portland: $19,500
APANO builds Pan-Asian/Pacific Islander civic leadership to address racial disparities and discrimination. APANO builds unity across generations, ethnic groups, and immigration experiences to advocate for the common good of Oregon's diverse Asian and Pacific Islander communities. 

Beyond Toxics, Eugene: $10,000
Exposure to toxins can cause irreparable damage to human health. Beyond Toxics challenges the widespread practice of spraying pesticides on forests, farms, and public areas. They champion the right of everyone to live free from unwanted chemical exposure. Beyond Toxics, partnering with Centro Latino Americano empowers Latino residents in West Eugene to take leadership in organizing for environmental justice.

CAPACES Leadership Institute, Woodburn: $15,000
Founded by a network of nine community based, Latino-led social change organizations in the Mid-Willamette Valley, CAPACES Leadership Institute develops the skills and abilities of Oregon’s Latino leaders. CAPACES empowers emerging and established progressive leaders to put into practice the big ideas and values that define the Latino movement. 

Center for Intercultural Organizing, Portland, $20,000
The “War on Terror" has had a very real and human impact on immigrant families, communities and lives. Founded by Portland-area immigrants and refugees in 2003, CIO protects and expands immigrant and refugee rights through education, civic engagement, policy advocacy, community organizing, and intergenerational leadership development. 

Central Oregon Jobs with Justice, Bend: $5,500
Central Oregon Jobs with Justice is a coalition of 25 labor, community, and human rights groups. They have won concrete victories, including higher living standards, better working conditions, and increased rights for immigrants, people of color, mobile home park residents, people with disabilities, and the LGBTQ community.

Common Cause Oregon, Portland: $8,000          
Common Cause Oregon believes the concerns of every Oregonian deserves consideration - regardless of ability to make large campaign contributions. By leading the way in progressive campaign finance reform, CCO empowers people to speak out for an open, honest, and accountable government that serves the public interest.

Community Alliance of Tenants, Portland: $17,000
As Oregon's only grassroots, tenant-controlled, tenant-rights organization, CAT develops the leadership of low-income tenants to hold landlords and public officials accountable for unjust housing policies and practices. CAT's tenant leaders take collective action to create more affordable, safe, and stable rental housing. 

Disability Art and Culture Project, Portland: $8,000
Disability is a natural and valuable variation of the human form and affirmative disability identity is intertwined with racial, gender, and economic justice. Disability Art and Culture Project furthers the artistic expression of people with disabilities and utilizes the performing arts as a method of developing disability culture and pride.

Human Dignity Coalition, Bend: $7,000
Founded in response to the virulent anti-gay ballot measures of the 1990’s, Human Dignity Coalition brings together diverse voices to create a grassroots social change movement in Central Oregon. HDC advances human dignity and equity for LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) people through their organizing, education, and leadership development work. 

KPOV High Desert Community Radio, Bend: $10,000
KPOV is radio by the people and for the people of Central Oregon. KPOV strengthens community and democracy by providing quality programming on topics of local interest and giving a voice to local communities through grassroots participation in independent, non-commercial radio. 

KSKQ Multicultural Association of Southern Oregon, Medford: $8,000
Multicultural Association of Southern Oregon is home to KSKQ Community Radio. KSKQ provides a venue for grassroots groups to present their views while challenging the corporate-owned media that dominates the airwaves. 

Latino Club, Salem: $7,000
Located in the Oregon State Penitentiary, the Latino Club’s vision is to create an environment within the prison that ensures everyone has the same access to education and work opportunities, regardless of race or ability to speak English. By tackling issues of racism and discrimination, the Latino Club help their members successfully transition back into their communities. 

Lotus Rising Project, Medford: $9,000
Lotus Rising Project supports, organizes, and builds the leadership of LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) youth and young adults in Southern Oregon. Their mission is to create an inclusive, affirming, and safe community for queer youth and to combat intolerance in all forms. 

NAACP Eugene-Springfield, Eugene: $7,000
The Eugene-Springfield NAACP combats racism in the Eugene/Springfield area. Their Back to School/Stay in School project is working to eliminate the racial achievement gap in local schools by establishing an effective tutoring program for African American students and increasing parent involvement in the education system.

OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon, Portland: $19,500
OPAL organizes low-income communities of color in East Portland to advance racial, environmental, and economic justice. Through their Bus Riders Unite initiative, OPAL is putting transit-dependent riders at the decision-making table with TriMet and establishing a more equitable transit system for all Portland Metro area riders. 

PFLAG Portland Black Chapter, Portland: $10,000
PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) Portland Black Chapter promotes the health and well-being of Black LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) Portlanders. The first African American chapter of PFLAG in the nation, the PFLAG Portland Black Chapter organizes and engages the LGBTQ community and allies in organizing, education, and advocacy.

Red Lodge Transition Services, Portland: $9,000
Native Americans are grossly over-represented in Oregon’s prison population. Red Lodge Transition Services is a Native American organization working to reduce recidivism, prevent intergenerational incarceration, and challenge the Oregon Department of Corrections to address religious freedom and basic human rights of Indigenous people. 

Rural Organizing Project, Scappoose: $18,000
ROP works with 65 member groups throughout rural Oregon to build the grassroots movement for social justice. Tackling issues from immigration to peace to healthcare to the economy, ROP is building rural progressive power and taking a stand for human dignity for all people. 

Unete, Medford: $9,000
Through community education, cultural presentations and advocacy, Unete is creating a movement of farm workers and immigrants in Southern Oregon who have the power to defend their rights while also developing and implementing programs that directly benefit the community.

Voz Hispana Causa Chavista, Woodburn: $8,500
Latinos in Oregon are marginalized in most mainstream institutions, and especially in Oregon’s K-12 education system. VHCC is developing the leadership of Latino children to understand their history, think critically, speak out, and to take leadership in their community for social justice. 

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  • WASHINGTON (AP) — One month after the inauguration, the stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of Donald Trump's White House still is a hard-hat zone. Skeletal remains of the inaugural reviewing stands poke skyward. Random piles of plywood and cables are heaped on the ground inside crooked lines of metal fencing. The disarray outside the president's front door, though not his fault, serves as a metaphor for the tumult still unfolding inside. Four weeks in, the man who says he inherited "a mess" at home and abroad is presiding over a White House that is widely described as itself being a mess. At a stunning pace, Trump has riled world leaders and frustrated allies. He was dealt a bruising legal blow on one of his signature policies. He lost his national security adviser and his pick for labor secretary to scandal. He's seen forces within his government push back against his policies and leak confidential information. All of this has played out amid a steady drip of revelations about an FBI investigation into his campaign's contacts with Russian intelligence officials. Trump says his administration is running like a "fine-tuned machine." He points to the rising stock market and the devotion of his still-loyal supporters as evidence that all is well, although his job approval rating is much lower than that for prior presidents in their first weeks in office. Stung by the unrelenting criticism coming his way, Trump dismisses much of it as "fake news" delivered by "the enemy of the people" — aka the press. Daily denunciations of the media are just one of the new White House fixtures Americans are adjusting to. Most days start (and end) with presidential tweets riffing off of whatever's on TV talk shows or teasing coming events or hurling insults at the media. At some point in the day, count on Trump to cast back to the marvels of his upset of Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November election and quite possibly overstate his margins of support. Expect more denunciations of the "dishonest" press and its "fake news." From there, things can veer in unexpected directions as Trump offers up policy pronouncements or offhand remarks that leave even White House aides struggling to interpret them. The long-standing U.S. policy of seeking a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Trump this past week offered this cryptic pronouncement: "I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like. I can live with either one." His U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, the next day insisted, "We absolutely support a two-state solution." Trump's days are busy. Outside groups troop in for "listening sessions." Foreign leaders call or come to visit. (Or, in the case of Mexico's president, cancel out in pique over Trump's talk about the planned border wall.) After the president signed two dozen executive actions, the White House was awaiting a rush order of more of the gold-plated Cross pens that Trump prefers to the chrome-plated ones used by his predecessor. Trump hands them out as souvenirs at the signing ceremonies that he points to as evidence of his ambitious pace. "This last month has represented an unprecedented degree of action on behalf of the great citizens of our country," Trump said at a Thursday news conference. "Again, I say it. There has never been a presidency that's done so much in such a short period of time." That's all music to the ears of his followers, who sent him to Washington to upend the established order and play the role of disrupter. "I can't believe there's actually a politician doing what he says he would do," says an approving Scott Hiltgen, a 66-year-old office furniture sales broker from River Falls, Wisconsin. "That never happens." Disrupt Trump has. But there may be more sound and fury than substance to many of his early actions. Trump did select Judge Neil Gorsuch to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, a nomination that has drawn strong reviews from conservatives. But the president is regrouping on immigration after federal judges blocked his order to suspend the United States' refugee program and ban visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries, which had caused chaos for travelers around the globe. Some other orders on issues such as the U.S.-Mexico border wall and former President Barack Obama's health care law are of limited effect. Trump says his early actions show he means to deliver on the promises he made during the campaign. "A lot of people say, 'Oh, oh, Trump was only kidding with the wall,'" the president told a group of police chiefs recently. "I wasn't kidding. I don't kid." But the Republican-led Congress is still waiting to see specifics on how Trump wants to proceed legislatively on top initiatives such as replacing the health care law, enacting tax cuts and revising trade deals. The messy rollout of the travel ban and tumult over the ouster of national security adviser Michael Flynn for misrepresenting his contacts with Russia are part of a broader state of disarray as different figures in Trump's White House jockey for power and leaks reveal internal discord in the machinations of the presidency. "I thought by now you'd at least hear the outlines of domestic legislation like tax cuts," says Princeton historian Julian Zelizer. "But a lot of that has slowed. Trump shouldn't mistake the fact that some of his supporters like his style with the fact that a lot of Republicans just want the policies he promised them. He has to deliver that." Put Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in the camp of those more interested in substance than style. "I'm not a great fan of daily tweets," McConnell said Friday, referring to the "extra discussion" that Trump likes to engage in. But McConnell was quick to add: "What I am a fan of is what he's been actually doing." He credits Trump with assembling a conservative Cabinet and taking steps to reduce government regulation, and promised: "We like his positions and we're going to pursue them as vigorously as we can." The challenge may be to tease out exactly what Trump wants in the way of a health care plan, tax changes and trade policy. At his long and defiant news conference on Thursday, Trump tried to dispel the impression of a White House in crisis, squarely blaming the press for keeping him from moving forward more decisively on his agenda. Pointing to his chief of staff, Reince Priebus, Trump said, "You take a look at Reince, he's working so hard just putting out fires that are fake fires. I mean, they're fake. They're not true. And isn't that a shame because he'd rather be working on health care, he'd rather be working on tax reform." For all the frustrations of his early days as president, Trump still seems tickled by the trappings of his office. When New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie visited the White House last week to discuss the national opioid epidemic over lunch, the governor said Trump informed him: "Chris, you and I are going to have the meatloaf.'" Trump added: "I'm telling you, the meatloaf is fabulous." ___Follow Nancy Benac on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nbenac
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