The Rural Organizing Project (ROP) is a statewide organization of locally-based groups that work to create communities accountable to a standard of human dignity: the belief in the equal worth of all people, the need for equal access to justice and the right to self-determination. Starting in 1992, ROP’s challenges to the anti-democratic right have earned ROP a national reputation for being an effective grassroots organization that takes on the hard issues.
We believe in 3 guiding principles:
Every human being matters
Every issue is interconnected
It’s all about transformational organizing
The catalyst for ROP was the Oregon Citizens Alliance’s outrageous Abnormal Behaviors Initiative, which targeted gay and lesbian Oregonians for legalized second-class citizenship. Oregonians in small towns across the state were mobilized, many for the first time, as basic tenets of the Constitution were at risk through this ballot initiative. ROP stepped into this organizing opportunity to fill a niche the radical right was trying to claim.
ROP is not your typical organization. We work with an organized grassroots base, not just a passive dues-paying membership. Our analysis is multi-issue, our activities are multi-tactic and we strategically coordinate our statewide organizing with key partners that counter the Right on every front in rural Oregon. Our lean-and-mean coordinating machine of four staff is backed by hundreds of volunteer leaders and thousands of supporters spanning the 10th largest state in the nation. As Left Turn magazine reported of our model, this structure enables and requires ROP to focus on organizing and grassroots leadership development to maintain the depth and breadth of movement building work.
Today, ROP works with 50 member groups to organize on issues that impact human dignity and to advance inclusive democracy.