CALC began locally as a chapter of a new national organization, Clergy and Laymen Concerned about Vietnam (CALCAV).
CALCAV published an ad in the Register-Guard, expressing religious opposition to the war in Vietnam.
CALCAV sent representatives to national actions in Washington, D.C. and hosted national anti-war leaders, such as Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and Rev. John Bennett.
Stopping the war on Vietnam and seeking amnesty for war resisters was a major focus through 1975. Before the war was over, however, we knew war was “a symptom of a far deeper malady,” in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. CALC began moving to address the root causes of militarism.
CALC changed it’s name, substituting “laity” for “laymen,” to acknowledge women’s leadership. CALC addressed disarmament, the politics of food, and international human rights. CALC put the spotlight on South Korea, the Philippines, Iran, Chile, and South Africa. As the decade came to a close, CALC became involved in challenging U.S. intervention in Central America, especially Nicaragua and El Salvador.
In 1974, CALC began a new effort, the Stop the B-1 Bomber/National Peace Conversion Campaign. The B-1 Campaign aimed at not only to stop a weapons system, but to expose and challenge the military-industrial complex and build support for conversion to an economy focused on meeting people’s needs.
CALC moved into a donated office at Koinonia Center . Rev. Roy Finch persuaded the CALC Steering Committee to take a “leap of faith” and adopt an annual budget of $3,000.
When draft registration was reinstituted in 1979, CALC helped organize the Coalition Opposing Registration and the Draft, which later became the Alliance to Counter Militarism. We saw the connections between militarism, racism and poverty. We put the budget on the street across from the University of Oregon campus. Under Doug Barber’s direction, CALC opposed the transport of nuclear waste.
In the 1980’s, a powerful new direction emerged, after a young African-American on the national staff pointed out that CALC focused on human rights around the world, but was overlooking racism at home.
Nationally and locally, CALC worked at a commitment to address racism on all levels, including inside the organization, striving to be multiracial and embracing leadership by people of color. A growing understanding of institutional racism led CALC to support Native American struggles, immigrant rights and farm worker issues, and to ask why people of color were disproportionately poor or incarcerated.
CALC looked at racism in our schools and members served on 4J’s Racial Justice Task Force Under the leadership of Bahati Ansari, the Racism Free Zone project was initiated. We sponsored the first Multicultural Kids’ Peace Camp, which continued for 12 summers. CALC anchored the Interfaith Sanctuary Network that worked on struggles in Central America.
We organized the first Oregon Witness for Peace delegation to Nicaragua. CALC worked in support of liberation struggles in Southern Africa, including divestment. In 1989, CALC produces video “We All Belong: A Young People’s Mural Honoring Cultural Diversity,” recording one of their mural projects.
After the demise of our national organization, we changed our name to Community Alliance of Lane County, making room for those who do not identify with any religious tradition, though we still deeply value our relationships with faith communities and believe part of our unique contribution is building bridges between faith-based and secular activists.
An upsurge in white supremacist and religious-right activity affected CALC’s priorities and Eric Ward organized CALC’s Communities Against Hate.
CALC was very involved in campaigns against homophobic measures sponsored by the Oregon Citizens Alliance and helped establish the Religious Response Network. CALC founded Youth for Justice, a dynamic group where CALC helped mentor dozens of savvy, sophisticated, social-justice activists.
We stood in solidarity with farm workers and defended immigrant rights, helping to organize the Network for Immigrant Justice. In 1996, CALC created its first photo exhibit, “We Are Neighbors,” reminding us of our heritage and helping us recognize the many ways our immigrant neighbors contribute to and are an integral part of our communities.
In 1997, CALC initiated a new program in Springfield, focused on the well being of marginalized youth. Springfield Alliance for Equality and Respect (SAfER) remains the only grassroots human rights group center in Springfield. In 1999, SAfER held it’s first Martin Luther King, Jr. student art and essay contest and celebration.
In 2001, shortly after 9/11, Progressive Responses was formed, working to replace the US government’s military approach to peace and justice.
In 2002, during the run-up to the war on Iraq, CALC revitalized The Committee for Countering Military Recruitment as a joint project with Eugene Peace Works. We got the 4J Eugene School District to use a process that adequately informs students and parents of the right to “opt out” of releasing information to military recruiters, limited military recruiter visits to 2 times per year in all 4J high schools and prohibited recruiter vans on campus. By 2008, we have a presence in every Lane County high school with counter military information.
In 2003, CALC created Back to Back: Allies for Human Dignity (B2B), committed to defending human rights and human dignity . We worked with groups such as BRO, Queer Youth Support Coalition, the Eugene Martin Luther King, Jr. Committee, CAUSA, and the Religious Response Network.
In 2003, CALC works with Moving Image Productions to help produce video “Justice on the Table,” about Oregon Farmworkers. In 2003, SAfER had its first Cesar Chavez birthday commemoration. event. In 2004, B2B created CALC’s second photo exhibit, What Does Family Look Like? This exhibit raises awareness of the many different types of families in Lane County.
2006 – CALC TURNED 40! In 2007, B2B created it’s “I’ve got your back” campaign, allying activists.
In 2008, SAfER held it’s first Human Rights Harvest event, demonstrating that food and shelter were basic human rights. The Springfield Shelter Rights Alliance was formed after the event, advocating for a right to shelter for all. In January 2009, CALC opened its third photo exhibit, coinciding with the inauguration of President Barack Obama. Shared Communities – Mixed Identities reflects members of our community who come from multi-racial or multi-heritage backgrounds.
In 2009, CALC’s SAfER co-produces with Moving Image Productions the film “Cesar Chavez ¡Presente!” The film honors the memory of Chavez, bringing new life to his words and legacy with the voices of a diverse ensemble of community members from Springfield, Oregon. In 2009, CALC launches new web site and electronic newsletters to improve timely communication with its vast network of friends, supporters, volunteers and funders.
CALC is still addressing many of the same issues that have defined it for decades: the struggle for racial justice, immigrant rights, economic justice and educational equity and opposing heterosexism, anti-Semitism and other isms. We’re challenging war, militarism and the drive for global hegemony, seeking to define true security as everyone having decent housing, education, food, work and health care. You can see more throughout this website or contact us.