Our Children Oregon:  Covid19 and the Census

Letter from the Executive Director

The Power of Goodness—that is or perhaps was to be the title for my sermon as a visiting speaker this Sunday.  I share it with you now—our network of people who care deeply about the well-being of Oregon’s children—because goodness is needed in times of crisis and we as a nation and a planet are in a time of crisis.

I wrote an unpublished piece just a week ago to try to deal with the partisan battle in Salem. I wrote to try to figure out how we heal the heart of democracy in times like these? Parker Palmer’s book on the topic “Healing the Heart of Democracy” lays out five habits of the heart.  And now as our fragility as humans is felt throughout the world and as America’s fragility of systems is exposed far beyond Oregon’s state lines—what can be said? I turn to Parker’s wisdom in learning how we can build a new foundation for who and how we want to be, together in community.

These habits are necessary for a functioning democracy and today I share the first: “An understanding that we are all in this together.”  It’s interesting that a pandemic can so swiftly remind us of this—and with this reminder, we get to choose how we lean into this human challenge together.  As we learn to distance ourselves socially, bow to our friends instead of high fiving, and even adapt to less stimulus (think no live sports for a time)—what other things might we learn?

My hope is that we would know our neighbors and what needs they might have; that we would see the cashiers at the grocery store as heroes/sheroes of American society; that we would know that the products and supply chains we rely on are a part of a massive global community—that the soil that nurtures our fruit is cared for by human hearts and human hands—that the teachers who are showing up day in and day out are a part of one of the noblest professions—that the healthcare workers who cannot retreat would be held with dignity and awe—that the institutions that support our human survival would be named: hospitals, county health departments, university labs with a scientist working 24 hours a day to find a vaccine to protect us all—that many of these institutions are paid for by our tax dollars—that government is to be for the people, by the people and of the people—that our collective survival is dependent on civil society’s ability to get us all to work together.

I have big aspirations for this pause. Here at Our Children Oregon our dream is to build a force for Oregon’s young people—a force for the common good and now is a good time for us to ask you to join us. Share this newsletter with your friends; follow us on Facebook (Children First for Oregon) and share our posts….fill out your census #countallkids!

With Love,

– Jenifer Wagley
Executive Director
Our Children Oregon

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Together we can build an Oregon where all children thrive


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