No on 9 Remembered: Kathleen Saadat, Ramón Ramírez & more
In our second month of No on 9 Remembered, we revisit the political and cultural geography of Oregon in 1992 and introduce leaders from the Latinx and African American communities who recognized the larger civil rights questions at stake.
These stories are the next installment in our quest to share 30 stories to mark the 30th anniversary of the No on 9 Campaign, in which Oregonians from all walks of life came together to defeat Ballot Measure 9, one of the harshest antigay measures ever put to American voters. Each story offers a unique prism on how this epic battle for civil and human rights can impart lessons for today’s fight for inclusive democracy.
“A rarely told part of the story,” remembers Scot Nakagawa, “is the origin of the No on 9 campaign. It began with an election for steering committee members at a gay bar in Eugene.” Our exploration of the political and cultural geography of Oregon in 1992 is a story of power and control that continues to this day.
When Oregon’s farmworkers’ union took a courageous stand for LGBTQ Oregonians, it set in motion one of the most durable legacies of Ballot Measure 9. Read about union co-founder and then-President Ramón Ramírez’s challenge to the LGBTQ community and how one organization — and later, another — answered the call.
“The legacy of this beautiful bond was established during devastating times. To this day these bonds continue, and have grown and developed into golden coalitions and alliances for the long term. The lessons of 30 years ago can be brought to 2022, where PCUN and the farmworker movement continue to show up with radical generosity for all communities experiencing injustice.”
Reyna Lopez, President of Pineros Y Campesinos Unidos Del Noroeste & Executive Director of PCUN
“The problems of racism within the campaign were the same as outside the campaign,” remembers Kathleen Saadat. She’d encountered dismissive treatment all her life. Serving on the No on 9 steering committee was no different. Learn more about the leadership Kathleen brought to the campaign and the hearts and minds she changed in communities across the state.
To everyone committed to defending democracy in these difficult times, we hope that No on 9 Remembered encourages you to be brave. To take action and take heart.
To remembering the past and shaping the future,
Eric K. Ward, Executive Director
Holly J. Pruett, Senior Fellow
No on 9 Remembered Co-Curators
P.S. Be sure to check out our project’s comprehensive Timeline and the other historical memory projects that inspire us in our Resources section. We encourage you to tell your own story, to ask your own questions. Contact us with your memories and questions.