THE SUNRISE PROJECT
From Sundown to Sunrise
The Sunrise Project works with former sundown towns in Oregon. Sundown towns were communities that purposefully and violently excluded African Americans and other racial minorities from living in, and sometimes simply passing through, their town. Most communities in Oregon were sundown towns. The goal of the Sunrise Project is to rewrite the ending to the story of a sundown town and create an ending where a formally exclusionary community can become one of the communities most intentionally committed to inclusivity because of its history. The project gets its name from the idea that "sunrise" is the opposite to "sundown" and signals the start of a new day as we try and develop our vision of a "sunrise community."
ORP is currently developing an educational resource on what sundown towns looked like both nationally and locally, how that exclusion evolved into the present, and then the next steps a community can take to create a more inclusive environment. The work will culminate in the installation of a two-sided historical marker. One side talking about racial exclusion in Oregon and the local community and the other side functioning as the community's stated commitment to inclusivity. So, while its a culmination of work, it's really the start of a never-ending journey to live out the ideals that are written on the marker. This will be the first ever historical marker about sundown towns in the United States.