The Sunrise Project:

Grants Pass Remembrance

Since 2021, ORP has supported the growth of a local truth and reconciliation coalition in Grants Pass, OR. Their goal is to help Grants Pass develop a new reputation for being welcoming to all. Check out their LinkTree.

Below is a timeline of Grants Pass Remembrance events.

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First Community Gathering

In July 2022, Grants Pass Remembrance held its first series of events.

Day 1 included a gathering of community members from a variety of cultural, political, and religious backgrounds who came together to learn more about their community’s history of being a sundown town and what they could do to help Grants Pass develop a new identity as a sunrise community.

Day 2 kicked off Grants Pass Remembrance’s interview series featuring members of the Grants Pass community. Check out these enlightening conversations on race, history, and community on their YouTube channel.

Day 3 provided members of the coalition an opportunity to come together at the historic Motel Del Rogue in fellowship. During the 20th century, story has it that the Motel Del Rogue use to provide African Americans a place to stay who were performing in town as they were located just outside of the city limit.

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MLK Day 2023

January 2023 was the start of Grants Pass Remembrance’s annual MLK Day celebration.

The theme for 2023’s event was “the beloved community.” The event followed the three R’s of reconciliation, which included a look at the history of sundown towns nationally and locally, a conversation with two local African Americans about what Grants Pass needs to do to better reflect the beloved community, and ways for community members to create “pockets of sunshine” in their community bubbles.

We gave out 100 copies of a book titled I Know This to be True. This book is part of a series by the Nelson Mandela Foundation where they interview an extraordinary person about their life and values. The copy we gave away was from an interview with Bryan Stevenson on his vision of equality, justice, and compassion. Participants were encouraged not to keep the book, but to instead read it and pass it along to someone else in their community for them to do the same.

Their theme for 2024 is “ordinary people.”

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Hearth Gathering 2023

In April 2023, Grants Pass Remembrance was featured at a community storytelling event hosted by the Hearth. The theme for the evening was “The end is still going.”

The audience heard from community members who shared about their ongoing stories, as well as from ORP, who shared the entirety of Alonzo Tucker’s story to demonstrate that his story didn’t end in his lynching but continues into today. Community members were able to hear how Grants Pass’ history of being a sundown town might similarly be elongated into an ending of justice.

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Boatnik Parade 2023

In May 2023, Grants Pass Remembrance marched in the Boatnik parade, a community parade that the KKK use to march in. Our goal was to replace the shadow of those white hoods with the brightness of our yellow t-shirts.

We gave out seed packets for a flower called the Oregon Sunshine to spread the word about the Sunrise Project.

“Just like gardening, the work of creating a sunrise community takes time and requires patience. It won’t sprout up overnight, and it’s ok if our hands get a little dirty along the way. We plant our seeds, water them with the spirit of goodwill, and wait for the reward of our labor. Yet, once the flower blooms, we continue to tend to it, knowing that our job of sustaining this creation is ongoing. We hope you take pride in nurturing this flower because one day it will produce new seeds and you can pass on this gift of sunshine to another neighbor in our community.”

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Juneteenth 2023

In June 2023, Grants Pass Remembrance held their community’s first-ever Juneteenth event. Our goal is to continue providing more Black-centric spaces in town as we invite others in the community into our cultural celebrations. We sought to educate the community on the relationship between Juneteenth and the 4th of July as chapters in the same story—a story that has not yet been fully actualized.

To learn more about 2023 gathering, check out our page on ORP Juneteenth celebrations.

Discover More

Read our articles to learn about Sundown Towns.

The History

Sundown towns were communities that purposefully excluded African Americans and other racial minorities from living in, or simply passing through, their community.

Our Work

The Sunrise Project seeks to help communities reconcile their history as a sundown town by developing a new identity as that of a “sunrise community,” the opposite to a sundown town.