Conservatives in Oregon made a strong statement of what they believe earlier this month when a crowd of over 1,700 people gathered in downtown Portland for the 2016 Freedom Rally at the Oregon Convention Center.
The Rally, now in its third year, was larger than any previous year. The sponsors were several grassroots conservative organizations that represent various conservative values, including Oregon Family Council, Oregon Right to Life, Oregon Anti-Crime Alliance, Oregon Women’s League, and the Taxpayer Defense Project. These organizations all work together under the banner of the Oregon Liberty Alliance, a loose coalition of these and other conservative groups.
The Freedom Rally was initially created to protest the liberal Republican Dorchester Conference to show that Oregon Republicans still unite around the traditional Republican coalition values: fiscal responsibility, protection of life, public safety, religious liberty and family values. While the Freedom Rally is no longer held at the same time as Dorchester so there is no longer a competition for attendees, it continues to become a focal point for conservative activists, candidates and others to network and show that they are in touch with Republican roots.
Booths were set up to inform attendees of various conservative groups, causes, and candidates as well. These included Stand Up Girl, Damsels in Distress, the Oregon Republican Party, Parents’ Rights in Education, Freedom Foundation and numerous candidates for various offices including presidential, gubernatorial and congressional.
The event, showcasing perhaps one of the biggest gatherings of conservative activists in Portland, hosted guest speakers including Fox News Contributor Todd Starnes, columnist Michelle Malkin, writer and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza and Congressman Greg Walden.
Michelle Malkin in particular energized the crowd with her fiery speech. “They’re always telling social conservatives…to tone it down,” she said, following up by sharing what her mom used to tell her when she was growing up: “What good are your words if you can’t speak them?”