26 August 2020
Old fashioned, homespun, down to earth hate and bigotry -- it's the Rogue River and Trump's American Way!
19 August 2020
18 August 2020
Organizers hope to open a dialogue, understanding
By Brad Smith
ROGUE RIVER, Ore. -- A special rally is planned for Aug. 29, including a march, a BBQ and some entertainment -- an event aimed at raising awareness of racial dynamics in Rogue River.
“We call it 'You Are Enough,’” said event organizer Dominique Toyer. “It’s a peaceful, family friendly event with the goals of opening a dialogue with the community and promoting an understanding. There are people in Rogue River who feel there's a problem with racism. They see it, they've experienced it. They want to talk about it, again, with the hopes of making the community aware of the problem.”
Toyer is part of the Southern Oregon Coalition for Racial Equity, located here in southern Oregon. She was active in the BLM rallies held in June and has participated in events held elsewhere in Oregon, most recently in Coos Bay. She appeared at a Rogue River city council workshop a few weeks ago and talked about racism in the community.
“I know it made some of the councilors uncomfortable. It’s not an easy thing to discuss nor to acknowledge,” she said. “But, if you ignore the problem -- it’s not going away. It’ll fester and get worse. No one wants to think that something bad happens in their town. But, unfortunately, it does happen and you need to face it, talk about it.”
Mayor Wayne Stuart and city administrator Mark Reagles both felt Toyer was “very brave” for coming to the meeting and discussing the issue. However, neither agreed that there was a problem.
“We’re a very diverse community, we don’t have a problem with racism here,” Stuart said, “I don't think it’s an issue.”
Rogue River isn’t that diverse -- not with nearly 94 percent of residents white and the rest made up of various other races. And, when looking at local social media posts, many residents feel that anyone associated with the BLM movement is a “Marxist” or “terrorist.” A number of current and former residents contacted the The Rogue Free Press and shared their experiences with racism in Rogue River. The local VFW and some businesses were noted as some of the biggest offenders.
In short, there’s a problem.
“The best way to address something like this is by opening a dialogue,” Toyer said. “That’s our goal. Dialogue. Awareness. Share an understanding. All of that leads to a better community.”
Toyer said at 10 a.m. Aug. 29, there would be a march through town followed by a barbeque at Palmerton Park. People will speak about their experiences being biracial and some entertainment is planned.”
“I hope people will come out and join us,” she said. “It’s going to be a good time.”
Toyer said brochures about the event will be distributed throughout Rogue River sometime this week or so. In the meantime, other events are planned throughout the Rogue Valley and beyond.
“I want a better world for my son,” she said. “I want a better world for all children. That’s why we do this.”
Saturday, Aug. 29, will be a defining moment for Rogue River. It will be interesting to see how some residents will react.
Toyer is a member of the Southern Oregon Coalition for Racial Equity. It's been corrected and The Rogue Free Press apologizes for the mistake.
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