Greetings, my name is Jesse Gasper Jr. I am the new Membership Manager at Oregon Physician for Social Responsibility (PSR). For the last 5 years, I’ve been observing Oregon PSR from afar. My interest started when Oregon PSR asked me to sign on to a bill in the Oregon legislature to support the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. As I learned more about the organization, I found out that Oregon PSR also focuses on Climate Change. Aha: a green light went off, and that’s when I knew I needed to be part of this organization.
I was born on the Atoll of Majuro in the Marshall Islands. In the mid ’40s and ’50s the United States tested 67 atomic weapons in the Marshall Islands. The biggest bomb, known as Bravo, was 1000 times more powerful than the bombs dropped on Japan. Bravo was detonated on Bikini Atoll. Prior to the tests, the US military forcibly removed the islanders on Bikini to nearby islands. One of those that had to evacuate was my Great Grandfather, Josaia Kerong. Bikinians still aren’t allowed to go back to their home island. Seventy-seven years of exile have passed as they write poems and songs about exodus.
The Marshall Islands currently are facing climate change head on as sea levels rise. Every day the Marshallese are fleeing the islands and coming to the US. My family was one of the early families to come to the states in the 1980s. As I grew up here in the US, my people were still struggling with radiation poisoning, inundation of water, and numerous other threats from nuclear radiation and climate chaos.
I decided to join Oregon PSR’s staff because I wanted to transition into a career where I can help my people. Even though I’m thousands of miles away from the Marshall Islands, I know that by working on the Oregon PSR team, I am working on the prohibition of nuclear weapons. We work to ensure that other communities do not have to deal with the aftermath of nuclear war or testing. We also strive to protect a healthy climate. I do this to save our world so that my children and grandchildren can have a planet to live on.
I am excited to announce that our board and advisory board members have issued a challenge match to you, our members. They will match your donations dollar for dollar, up to $22,000 by the end of the year. Please give now to help us meet this match and fund our critical work into 2023.
As membership manager, my role is to grow the support of our members, both as donors and volunteers, to build power for this unique organization. I am grateful to so many of you who already give to Oregon PSR and I am asking that you dig deep this year to help me build the power of this organization with a generous, tax-deductible gift.
Climate chaos and nuclear weapons are health issues. These issues are frighteningly real. My family and my community have lived and seen the results in our backyard. We must address the dual crises of climate chaos and the all-to-real threat of nuclear weapons. By bringing the expertise of healthcare and public health to movements for climate justice and nuclear justice, this organization makes a real difference for communities like mine. Thank you for supporting our work with a generous contribution today.
Jesse Gasper Jr.