Racial equity event in Rogue River draws a crowd

ROGUE RIVER, Ore. — A racial equity march was held in Rogue River Saturday, but it wasn’t without controversy as people came out to let them know they didn’t support their message.

The “You are Enough” event was supposed to include a march to a city park and a barbecue to follow, but the Southern Oregon Coalition for Racial Equity said it was one obstacle after another in the city.

Permits were denied and then the Palmerton Park Pavilion was reserved pushing the group to cancel the barbecue.

“If we are to be the United States of America we have to be united,” Dominque Toyer said. “We need to be united and in order to do that, you have to welcome other southern Oregonians to your southern Oregon town to have a conversation that affects all Americans,” she added.

Dominique Toyer is Vice President of the coalition, attended South Medford High School, has a bi-racial son and said she knows conversations about race can be hard, but said they are necessary.

“I just want to create a safe space within Rogue River for the kids to talk,” Toyer said. “I just wanted to uplift the voices of children and let them know your voice means something. Your age doesn’t determine your worth,” she added.

Jinny Neiswanger has lived in Rogue River 20 years. She said she has bi-racial children and grandchildren who grew up in this community. She said an unnamed journalist accused the community and several Rogue River residents of being racist.

“That couldn’t be further from the truth,” Neiswanger said. “They have the right to peacefully assemble. We’re not trying to push that away. We’re just letting them know where we stand on their topic and their presence is a concern because of what’s happened in Eugene and Portland,” she added.

Event organizers said they looked renting out the Evans Valley Community Center location.
The president of the Evans Valley Community Association announced there were “concerns an event like this could escalate into a dangerous environment.”

As a result their board canceled the event.

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