Shasta Zielke: I Support...

Basic Rights Education FundPlanned Parenthood

The hard working staff at Oregon Wild are dedicated to defending Oregon’s wild lands, wildlife, and waters. But there is more to us than our efforts to protect old growth forests, recover gray wolves, or reform Oregon’s lax clearcutting laws. We are also part of our broader communities. At a time when reaching out to our neighbors and working together across causes is more important than ever, we wanted to take the opportunity to spotlight some of the work done by other organizations. Our staff has selected causes that are important to them, and explained why they think these efforts are worthy of your support.

As we approach the end of 2016, and process and recover from the presidential campaign and election, I find my thoughts turning constantly to what I know to be my core values and reassessing how I’m standing up for those values on a daily basis. I’ve taken a step back to decide how I can mindfully use my resources to do the most good, with the knowledge that it’s now more important than ever that I focus on helping others as much as I possibly can. One of the easiest and most effective ways to leverage my resources is to donate to causes that are close to my heart – and also ones which may be under attack in the next four years.

That being said, I’m excited to support two local organizations through this year’s Willamette Week Give!Guide – Basic Rights Education Fund and Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette.

Basic Rights Education Fund is the educational branch of Basic Rights Oregon. The fund works to train people in transgender justice and LGBTQ equality across the state, so that all LGBTQ Oregonians are able to live in safe and positive communities and have access to equal opportunities. Basic Rights Oregon has been a major player in state politics over the last few decades and has helped the LGBTQ community make huge strides toward true equality. There’s more work to be done to make sure that Oregon is truly doing all that we can to  support all of our citizens, and supporting the Basic Rights Education Fund is one way that I’m showing up to help advance change.

Planned Parenthood of Columbia Willamette has been providing access to reproductive health care for Oregonians since 1963. They make a difference in the lives of tens of thousands of patients each year – from educating young people to providing cancer screenings to low-income populations. As we face the very real likelihood that the Affordable Care Act will be repealed in the next four years, meaning that thousands of Oregonians will lose their health insurance, Planned Parenthood will become more important than ever. Access to health care should always be a right for all and never a privilege afforded to a select group. Planned Parenthood has stood firm for over 50 years to make sure that all people can access quality health care, regardless of income or insurance status – and I’m standing firm in my commitment to their mission by becoming a donor this year.

If, like me, you’ve been searching for a way to make the world a little bit better, I hope that you’ll explore this year’s Give!Guide and make a commitment to one of the 141 worthy non-profits. As a representative of Oregon Wild (also featured in the Give!Guide), I thank you in advance for your dedication to doing good and giving through the Give!Guide. Happy holidays!