They call themselves the Liberal Ladies of Happy Valley, but their secret Facebook page is anything but progressive. The group’s administrator Jennifer Brownlee claims the group doesn’t exist. She’s technically right, but only because they recently renamed the group to “Simply the Best Ladies of Happy Valley.”
As the good residents of Happy Valley know, I have been an outspoken advocate for online safety efforts and the eradication of cyber-bullying. I am writing today because I can no longer sit idle while this Facebook group continues its nefarious practice of online bullying.
As a mother, an elected leader, and as a woman, I see these posts and my heart breaks. Not for myself, I can handle it. But now I am compelled and obligated to speak out.
After almost nine months of receiving Facebook feeds that have foully slandered my hard work as Mayor and that of my peers I must speak out against the bullying that is happening within my own community. I have read most of these Facebook posts on the Page and while I have no problem with a group organizing to express alternative viewpoints or support opponents, I do have a problem with a group openly using racist language to insult my familial ancestry and me personally.
One “Liberal Lady” wrote, “Let’s hope she gets her chavez (sic.) in gear and listens to our request. ¡Ándale!” Another chimed in criticizing me for bringing, ‘Chavez’ into my name when I was running. Bringing up my ethnicity and questioning my values based on my race is abhorrent and has no place in Oregon politics or within an online community run by past and current state leaders.
It gets worse. Our daughter has even fallen prey to the network of politically motivated so-called liberal ladies. She’s been bullied and ridiculed. Why – simply because she is my daughter. My loving daughter is a special education teacher who has a heart of gold. She does not deserve to be pulled through the mud as a political pawn.
And, as if attacking my family isn’t bad enough, the group is now targeting businesses who are in support of, or seen with me. The most recent example includes online antics in advance of my last Mayor Serves event, which is where I take on the job function of a worker at one of our local businesses. As the word got out on my event, the group’s mob-like behavior took a turn for the worse. Fortunately, I received evidence of the group’s plans to humiliate and degrade me in public.
One user wrote, “Would I be a terrible person if I went and just mocked her???” Another replied, “Can I go point and laugh? [Chavez-DeRemer] just brings out the worst in me.” Another piled on, “You’d only be a horrible person if you didn’t record it.”
The group then moved from digital bullying to direct intimidation. A member of the group reached out to the business I was scheduled to serve at and threatened that if they didn’t hold an event for Bynum the group would stop supporting their business.
This isn’t my idea of the Oregon I have come to love and serve, and I found myself wondering how far will they go? The fearful reality is that in today’s vitriolic climate, I just don’t know which is why I’m speaking out.
Today, I am asking Bynum to step up and put a stop to this bullying that is taking place under her watch. I am asking her to stop the harassment of businesses located within her own community and to that of my family.
I believe in Oregon. We have so many different cultures and perspectives, which is why I’m running for the Legislature. I want to advocate for a more equitable, fairer, inclusive system where all voices and opinions feel valued. I am running to take my record as a nonpartisan Mayor, to bring common sense, respect and balance to the Legislature.
It’s time to stand up.
For verification of posts, follow-up commentary and inquiries please contact Chavez-DeRemer spokesman Jonathan Lockwood at firstname.lastname@example.org.