HRC Blog

Lifting Up Voices of Faith in Oregon

In case you missed it, 13-year-old Duncan McAlpine Sennett’s Bar-Mitzvah speech for marriage equality is worth every minute. Duncan’s voice is part of a chorus of Oregonians of faith speaking out for marriage not in spite of their religious beliefs, but because of them.

HRC has been proud to be working with Duncan’s synagogue and other houses of worship to bring more and more religious voices for equality into the light, through the work of HRC’s Aubrey Thonvold, who is serving as faith director of the Oregon United for Marriage campaign.

In fact, Congregation Beth Israel, which Duncan calls home, unanimously voted to endorse the campaign as a congregation. Now Duncan’s video is going viral and he’s appearing on national media.

Media is a key part of any campaign, and HRC recently sponsored training for more than 40 faith leaders in Eugene and Portland to help support them as they step out publically in support of equality.

With 31 percent of the Oregon population identifying as a person of faith, leaders know it is important to publicly speak up for equality.  HRC’s work in Oregon aims to equip them with the skills and networks to do just that.

Additionally, Lisbeth Melendez-Rivera, who leads HRC’s A La Familia project, recently visited Oregon for the launch of the People of Color (POC) table for Oregon United for Marriage Equality. She also trained new A la Familia facilitators to engage and empower Latin@ communities in the fight for equality.

“The weekend spent training facilitators from varied denominations re-energized my belief in the power of our A la Familia model: plant the seeds of dialogue and watch the change blossom,” said Melendez-Rivera.

Be it for marriage equality, immigration reform, or the myriad of other social justice issues facing our communities, A la Familia is proving an effective tool to bring movements in Oregon together, to amplify our message and to fight for equity and justice.

In the next 11 months until election season, expect to see people of faith, whether they be community leaders or brand new Bar-Mitzvahs, leading the way in Oregon as they reclaim their faith and speak out in support of marriage equality.

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