Historical Memory Projects
The Oregon LGBTQ community’s story intersects with the great 20th century movements for civil rights. To honor these struggles and their relevance for the present moment, we present some of the other local historical memory projects that inspire us. Use our Contact form to suggest others for inclusion and scroll down for No on 9-specific Resources and Archives.
Oregon Remembrance Project (ORP) was founded in 2018 to help communities in Oregon unearth stories of injustice and engage in the necessary truth telling and repair required to reconcile instances of historical harm. ORP connects historical racism to its present-day legacies in order to inspire contemporary racial justice action. This work began in Coos Bay, with the question, “How do you reconcile a lynching?” – namely, the death of Alonzo Tucker, the only known Black lynching victim in Oregon’s history. ORP follows the process designed by the Equal Justice Initiative and their Community Remembrance Project which collaborates with communities to memorialize documented victims of racial violence and foster meaningful dialogue about race and justice.
Outliers and Outlaws: The Eugene Lesbian History Project is a community-based, digital humanities project that preserves and shares the unique history of the lesbian community in Eugene, Oregon. The project includes filmed oral histories with 83 narrators, a digital exhibit including the political activism of the narrators in response to Ballot Measure 9, and a short documentary film.
Remembering May 11, 1970 and Moving Forward is a multi-year remembrance effort culminating in the dedication of a plaque commemorating Portland State University’s legendary protest of the Vietnam War and the Kent State killings.
Move to Include is a portfolio of Oregon Public Broadcasting stories on the civil rights and institutional barriers faced by people with disabilities in Oregon. The series includes a four-part special, “In the Shadow of Fairview” – the Fairview Training Center opened in 1908 as the “State Institution for the Feeble-Minded” and for nearly 100 years housed thousands of Oregonians with disabilities. Episodes cover Eugenics; The Institution; People First; and Coming Home.
Four Rivers Cultural Center near the Idaho border in Ontario, Oregon, was initially envisioned as a Japanese American Cultural Center built in part with reparations monies from the internment of Japanese American citizens during WWII. The local Japanese American community (the largest in the state until 1990) broadened the mission to honor the stories of the other cultures in the area alongside their own – the Northern Paiutes, Europeans, Basques, and Braceros. Details: Oregon Encyclopedia.
Kam Wah Chung State Heritage Site near John Day in eastern Oregon, tells the story of two Chinese immigrants, Ing “Doc” Hay and Lung On, who settled in 1888 and established a business that for over 60 years provided health care to the broader community and served as a social, medical, and religious center for Oregon’s Chinese community. View the documentary.
Confluence connects contemporary Oregonians and Washingtonians to the history, living cultures, and ecology of the Columbia River system through Indigenous voices. Storytelling is expressed through six art landscapes, educational programs, and public gatherings in collaboration with Northwest tribes, communities, and the artist Maya Lin.
The Cante Sica Foundation creates opportunities for healing, understanding and reconciliation around the legacy of the Native American boarding school system, the U.S. Government’s policy of forced assimilation of indigenous peoples between 1879 and 1975. Cante Sica is a Lakota expression that refers to a person’s devastating sorrow. The Foundation is building a Visual History Archive and Curriculum by training teams of Native filmmakers and historians to collect visual histories from boarding school survivors and alumni.
Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education explores the legacy of the Jewish experience in Oregon, teaches the universal lessons of the Holocaust, provides opportunities for intercultural conversation, and challenges visitors to resist indifference and discrimination and to envision a just and inclusive world.
The Oregon Historical Society’s Experience Oregon lecture series, archived on YouTube, includes topics such as Grounded in This Place: A Deep History of Latino Activism in Oregon; Beyond Chinatown: Uncovering Oregon’s Rural Chinese History; and Oregon’s Enigmatic Black History.
The Celebrate Oregon! Cultural Trust license plate features 127 symbols woven into a physical landscape that tells the story of Oregon’s history, heritage and cultural practices. Western States Center Board Chair Mariotta Gary-Smith was one of the project’s narrative contributors.
No on 9 Articles, Analysis, Documentary Films
Oregon’s No on 9 Campaign: Lessons on Fighting Extremism Today, a virtual program presented by the American LGBTQ+ Museum on Feb. 22, 2023 featuring No on 9 Remembered voices Holly Pruett, Eric K. Ward, Rev. Cecil Charles Prescod, Scot Nakagawa, and Thalia Zepatos.
Fighting for Our Lives, a 20 minute video produced during the campaign as an organizing tool by Elaine Velazquez & Barbara Bernstein.
Ballot Measure 9 1995 documentary feature produced & directed by Heather Lyn MacDonald, received jury and audience awards internationally — from the Sundance Film Festival to the Berlin International Film Festival.
The Oregon Campaign by Suzanne Pharr, in Transformation: Towards a People’s Democracy, 2021, pp. 109–118
Originally published in the Jan/Feb 1993 issue of Transformation (Vol. 8, No. 1), the Women’s Project newsletter
The Rise and Fall of ‘No Special Rights’ by William Schultz, Oregon Historical Quarterly, Spring 2021, 122:1
Oregon’s Other Gay Record: A Recent History of Anti-Gay Ballot Initiatives From Around the State by George T. Nicola, Street Roots, May 6 2014
The Stranger Next Door: The Story of a Small Community’s Battle Over Sex, Faith, and Civil Rights, by Arlene Stein, 2001
Moving to Oregon shortly after the defeat of Ballot Measure 9 when dozens of similar measures had passed in local jurisdictions, sociologist Stein spent two years talking with community activists and residents on both sides of the issue. An immersion into rural Oregon at that time.
Measure 9: Oregon’s 1992 Anti-Gay Ballot Measure by Patricia Jean Young, 1997
Thesis written for a Master of Arts in History at Portland State by a founding member of Gay & Lesbian Archives of the Pacific NW (GLAPN) who taught the LGBTQ History Capstone class in the University Studies program at Portland State University for many years.
No on 9 Archival Materials
Pacific Northwest Queer Histories
Articles curated by the Gay & Lesbian Archives of the Pacific Northwest (GLAPN)
Gay & Lesbian Archives of the Pacific Northwest
housed in the Reference Library at Oregon Historical Society; related collections include:
- Campaign for a Hate Free Oregon records, 1989-1993
- Gay and Lesbian Organizations Collection, 1972-1996
Just Out Digital Archives (1983-2011)
“Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor and a partnership with the Gay and Lesbian Archives of the Pacific Northwest (GLAPN) and the Oregon Historical Society Library, Just Out: Oregon’s lesbian and gay newsmagazine is available to view on the website of University of Oregon’s Historic Oregon Newspapers Collection. Just Out was published and distributed for free twice a month in Portland, Oregon from 1983–2013; the digital collection includes issues from 1983-2011.” Landmark LGBTQ+ publication now online
NGLTF Right the Right Action Kit (1993)
Housed in text format in the Queer Resources Directory
Compiled by Sarah Crary Gregory and Scot Nakagawa for the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force’s Fight the Right Project, the Action Kit includes content provided by over a dozen No on 9 leaders, reflecting the relevance of the Oregon experience to organizers and campaigners around the country.
Contributors documenting the lessons of the No on 9 campaign:
(Bios as listed in the 1993 Action Kit; since then all have served in many other roles.)
- Leah Campbell, a field organizer for the No on 9 Campaign for a Hate-Free Oregon, currently lives in Seattle, Washington.
- Beckie Capoferri is a professional union organizer employed by the Oregon Public Employees Union. She is a founding member of the No On 9 Labor Coalition, and worked for the No On 9 Campaign as a field organizer and labor liaison.
- D-J, an emigre from Holland, is an events organizer, owner/manager of the National Gallery of Snapshots in Portland, OR and an “American Gladiators” enthusiast.
- Steven Gardiner is an anthropologist and political activist who specializes in studying and analyzing social movements. Steve is currently the Co-Research Director of the Coalition for Human Dignity. He is the author of the CHD Publication, Rolling Back Civil Rights: The Oregon Citizens’ Alliance at Religious War.
- Gillian Leichtling lives in Portland, Oregon where she is an organizer with the Coalition for Human Dignity, and the Homophobic Violence Documentation Project. Gillian worked with the Rural Organizing Project organizing opposition to Ballot Measure 9 in Oregon’s rural communities.
- Pacy Markman is a partner in the Los Angeles advertising firm Zimmerman Markman. His extensive experience developing media advertisements for organizations fighting anti-gay initiatives includes the California Briggs Amendment Campaign, and the No on 9 Campaign for a Hate-Free Oregon.
- Jonathan Mozzochi is the Co-Research Director of the Coalition for Human Dignity. A longtime political activist, his research specialty is the study of white supremacist movements and their role in American politics and society.
- Scot Nakagawa, National Gay & Lesbian Task Force Fight the Right Director, is the former Executive Director of the Coalition for Human Dignity. Scot was a field organizer for 1992’s No on 9 Campaign for a Hate-Free Oregon.
- Lynn Nakamoto is a lesbian activist and attorney who lives in Portland, Oregon. She is a founding member of the Asian and Pacific Islander Lesbians and Gays, and a member of both the Asian-Pacific American Alliance and the Japanese American Citizens League.
- Suzanne Pharr is a founding member of the staff of the Women’s Project of Little Rock, Arkansas, and the author of Homophobia: A Weapon of Sexism. Suzanne also worked as a media officer for the No on 9 Campaign for a Hate-Free Oregon, and now travels the country supporting the efforts of civil rights activists throughout the United States who are involved in fights against the religious right.
- Cecil Prescod is an organizer of the People of Faith Against Bigotry, an Oregon-based political action committee dedicated to resisting right wing bigotry. He is also a leader in the Coalition for Human Dignity, and an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ.
- Bob Ralphs is a founder and organizer of the Portland Metro-based No On Hate Political Action Committee, and the founder and lead organizer of Bigot Busters. Bob is also the Oregon March on Washington Coordinator.
- Linda Welch was the Fundraising Director for Oregon’s No on 9 Campaign in 1992. Prior to the campaign she was the Executive Director of Oregon’s Right to Privacy Political Action Committee. Currently she is working as a consultant specializing in fundraising and homophobia education.
- Marcy Westerling is the former Executive Director of the Columbia County Women’s Resource Center, and currently heads the Rural Organizing Project of the Oregon Democracy Project. Over the course of the 1992 election year, and in the months since, Marcy has earned the respect and admiration of Oregonians in every part of the state as the “only out lesbian in Columbia County,” and as the organizer of 22 rurally-based “human dignity” political action committees.
- Thalia Zepatos, an author based in Portland, OR, worked as a campaign strategist and organizer for No on 9: Campaign for a Hate-Free Oregon. Prior to this campaign, she served as a campaign leader for Governor Barbara Roberts’ 1990 race.
Sections documenting strategies used during the No on 9 campaign:
- Introduction by Scot Nakagawa
- The New Right and the Christian Right by Jonathan Mozzochi, Gillian Leichtling & Steven Gardiner of the Coalition for Human Dignity
- Race and the Religious Right by Scot Nakagawa, National Gay & Lesbian Task Force Fight the Right Director
- Organizing Organized Labor by Beckie Capoferri, Oregon Public Employees’ Union
- Working with Communities of Color: The Asian And Pacific Islander Experience in Oregon by Lynn Nakamoto
- The Business Community: Constituency Organizing by Linda Lee Welch
- Suggestions for Action from People of Faith Against Bigotry
- An Anecdotal Study in Rural Organizing by Marcy Westerling in July 1992 for The Witness, the newsletter of the Coalition for Human Dignity of Portland, Oregon, reprinted with permission
- Breaking the Isolation: Keeping Leadership Vibrant by Marcy Westerling, Oregon Rural Organizing Project
- The Message & the Media by Pacy Markman, Zimmerman & Markman Political Consulting, Communications & Advocacy
- Effective Fundraising Against the Right (Two Parts) by Linda Lee Welch, Fundraising Director, Campaign for a Hate-Free Oregon
- Fundraising That’s Fun: Party Now to Fight the Right by D-J, Hans Brinker Productions, Portland, OR
- Voter Contact: Tools to Get the Votes excerpted from training materials from No on 9: the Campaign for a Hate-Free Oregon
- Walking the Talk: Successful Canvass Strategies by Leah Campbell
- No On 9 Campaign Field Strategy by Thalia Zepatos, Campaign for a Hate-Free Oregon
- Bigot Busting by Bob Ralphs