A Letter from Dr. Patrick O'Herron, Oregon PSR's Board President

Kids_climate_strike_photo_1_cropped.jpg“The children will become leaders as the leaders have become children.” This quote is from Madison Leal, who survived the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on February 14th of last year. She was decrying the lack of action on gun control and the failure to protect students from mass shootings.

As I write this, children all over the world are walking out of class as part of a global youth climate strike. Seeing those young faces with so much optimism, integrity, and determination gives me hope for our movement to protect human health and preserve a livable planet for future generations. It also makes me deeply sad. The sign of one young protester read “Our Children Will be an Endangered Species.” Our young people should be able to be kids, if just for a little while longer, knowing that we, the adults who have the power and privilege to make changes, are grappling with the existential threat of problems like climate change and nuclear war.

While we still live with the specter of devastating climate destabilization and major setbacks regarding nuclear disarmament, including the US withdrawal from both the Iran Nuclear Deal and the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, Oregon PSR has had some tremendous successes over the past few months in our work.

In the latest issue of our newsletter, The Folded Crane, you can read about the successes and challenges facing us in our work for a healthy climate, our support for a Green New Deal in Oregon, our increasingly diverse outreach and efforts around nuclear weapons abolition, our engagement of Oregon’s young people in exploring the health impacts of systemic racism, and our ongoing fight against new fossil fuel infrastructure.

Each year, we ask high school students to grapple with a question relative to our work through our Greenfield Peace Writing Scholarship. This year that question is “How can you work against systemic racism to help make our world more healthy and peaceful?” Be sure to mark your calendars and come hear what the winning students think at the awards ceremony on April 26th. While you’ve got your calendar out, also include our annual Hiroshima and Nagasaki memorial event on August 6th.

Oregon PSR remains at the forefront of our state’s interconnected movement for a healthy, just, and peaceful world. The generous support of members like you makes our work possible. Thank you!  With your support, we were able to meet our Board and Advisory Board’s 2018 year-end matching pledge, helping to provide Oregon PSR with the resources we need to continue this critically important work.

We greatly value your ongoing financial support, so please consider giving today, signing up for monthly automated giving, or including our small but amazingly effective organization in your estate planning (my partner and I finally got around to making a will and I was amazed at how easy it was to include Oregon PSR).

If you haven’t already, please visit our website to sign up for our weekly action alert emails, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to keep up with our work, find out about upcoming events, and take immediate actions. Together, we are working to build the healthy, just, and peaceful world that we all deserve.

At times the struggles we are facing can feel overwhelming, but fortunately, there are no other people I would rather be fighting this good fight with. Right when I was starting to really feel bad about the implications of children having to go on strike to try to move adults to take action on climate action, I read the sign of another young protester that made me laugh: “I’ll take my exams when You take action on climate.” Let’s get to work, so that they can get back to school.

With Love and Solidarity,


Patrick O’Herron, MD, Board President