Standing Against Injustice

January 31, 2017

This blog post was originally published by Meyer Memorial Trust.

It’s simple: The hostile rhetoric leading up to and including the president’s executive orders issued this past week has been hateful and inexcusable and runs counter to the principles of our republic.

Following two executive orders targeting immigrants and refugees, on Friday, Jan. 27, just a week after his inauguration, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that bars refugees and immigrants from a number of Muslim countries from entering the United States. It’s clear we are at the beginning of a long, hard fight.

It’s surreal to stand at this historical moment. This early action has already divided families and engendered fear, anxiety and hopelessness. Muslims, immigrants and refugees are the targets today, but so many are at risk if we head down this road. What comes next? We must stand for the rights of all people of color, people with disabilities, and the LGBTQ community.

I have personally been heartened by the response from the citizenry. We have seen millions urgently take to the streets and airports in response. This past weekend, thousands showed up at Portland International Airport to support refugees and immigrants affected by the action.

In my last blog post, I made it clear that in the face of our new political realities, Meyer will  “be nimble by remaining open to time-sensitive instances where our established program strategies are not positioned to respond." This is one of those moments.

In response, Meyer is providing grants to five community-based organizations on the front lines of ensuring the security, safety and civil rights of all people in our community. Although we currently fund these organizations, now more than ever their human and financial resources are being tested by the great work before them. And we need them to be strong in this fight. So in solidarity and support of their important work, we are making the following supplemental grants:

Our message is clear: To private citizens, we urge you to exercise your rights by using your own resources and voice to put pressure on power. Attend a rally. Call your representatives at every level of government. Show support to your neighbors. Use the rights you have. Go beyond what you think you can do. These are extreme times.

To other philanthropic organizations and corporations, we urge you to use your considerable resources and loud voices to stand up for what is right and to resist oppression and injustice to all members of our community. This is the time to speak up.

Meyer is determined to join others and help lead this fight by using our resources and our voice to respond to these inexcusable challenges to our most basic civil liberties. We pledge to continue to look for opportunities for rapid responses and swift impact. In addition, we will soon be announcing our 2017 spring funding opportunities, which will continue our work toward a flourishing and equitable Oregon.

Doug Stamm is CEO of Meyer Memorial Trust and a Philanthropy Northwest board member.