2020 has been quite a year. The toll of COVID-19 has been staggering, the upswell of protests against systemic racism and police violence has been massive, we appear to nearly be through one of the most momentous elections in our lifetimes, and we endured megafires that choked our air and blocked out the sun. This has been a very challenging year for organizing, but a great year if you like Zoom meetings. This was a year which strongly reinforced the motto of Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility - preventing that which we cannot cure.
While it has been a very challenging year on many fronts, we have also done some great work together to promote peace, protect our climate, strive for racial justice, and strengthen our communities. We hope that we can count on you to make a year-end donation to help further our work.
I am proud to say that our Board of Directors and our Advisory Board members are issuing a match of $19,000.00. That means that your donation will be matched, dollar for dollar, doubling the impact of your year-end gift.
Our Healthy Climate Program work has traditionally centered on our role in the thin green line in the Pacific Northwest preventing various fossil fuel projects. We continue to work in multiple community coalitions to prevent ill-conceived projects like the massive Jordan Cove LNG export facility, Pacific Connector pipeline, and Kalama fracked gas-to-methanol plant, and to shutter the Zenith oil-by-rail terminal in Portland. In addition to organizing against fossil fuels and false solutions such as burning municipal waste and inherently unsafe nuclear power, we are focusing on real solutions to the climate crisis by supporting Oregon’s Green New Deal and the Energy Democracy campaign. We continue to be involved in the implementation of the innovative Portland Clean Energy Fund to ensure that it will be successful and serve as a model to other jurisdictions looking to simultaneously address the climate crisis and further racial justice goals.
Our ongoing Peace Program work feels incredibly important in these difficult times. We held our annual Hiroshima and Nagasaki memorial and Greenfield Peace Scholarship awards ceremony online this year in response to the pandemic, with great turnout. We increased our participation in coalition with frontline and Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) communities and organizations to fight racism and police violence, centering public health in these growing movements as we continued to work for nuclear justice.
I have no idea what to expect in 2020. We appear to be entering a particularly dire surge in COVID-19 cases with daily case numbers, hospitalizations, and deaths breaking records. There are no signs that our militarized police forces will stop brutalizing and killing our community members, particularly from BIPOC communities. The climate crisis continues to worsen. Mounting economic problems will make addressing all of these issues even harder.
While a new federal administration is likely to be more amenable to our efforts to protect human health, its important to remember that the leadership of neither party has embraced the much-needed bold, transformative policies like a Green New Deal and slashing budgets for the military, Border Patrol and ICE, and police departments while reinvesting in affordable health care, education, housing, and food assistance. My sole prediction for 2021 is that we will need to fight like hell.
Oregon PSR is ready, but we need your help. We accomplish an incredible amount for a relatively small organization, and your donation makes a tangible, real-world difference in the health of our communities. In order to effectively advocate for an Oregon Green New Deal, organize against short-sighted fossil fuel proposals, realign budget priorities away from nuclear weapons and militarism, strengthen police accountability, and so much more, we rely on funds from donors like you.
This work is critical, and this time is critical, so please join me in making a generous donation today. Remember, too, that your donation will be matched dollar for dollar by our Board and Advisory Board members, doubling the impact of your year-end gift.
Please stay safe and stay healthy, and thank you so much for your support of our work.
Patrick O’Herron, MD, Oregon PSR Board President