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Sen. Merkley to speak in Ashland

ORD2 Indivisible and 25 community groups will host “Uniting For Justice,” a free forum focusing on hate, oppression and bigotry in Southern Oregon, on Sunday, Oct. 22 at the Historic Ashland Armory. U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-OR, will be a guest speaker.

Doors will open at 1 p.m. The event will begin at 1:30 and end at 3:30 p.m. Speakers will include Sen. Merkley, Ashland Mayor John Stromberg, Oregon state Rep. Pam Marsh, members of clergy and people of color who will talk about their experiences living in the Rogue Valley.

A broad coalition of community groups are participating, including ORD2 Indivisible, Racial Equity Coalition, Interfaith Council, Unete, SoCan, Our Revolution, Ashland Culture of Peace Commission, KS Wild and SO Pride.

Representatives of these groups will be available to meet and talk with attendees at tables during the event. They will also invite participants to sign up for future workshops and forums.

The event was inspired by the Aug. 12 violence involving white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia. ORD2 Indivisible co-founder and spokesperson Jessica Sage said she felt compelled to organize a gathering that would bring together community groups from many different areas to talk about racial injustice — particularly in the Rogue Valley — and learn ways to fight it.