Oregon State University Libraries and Press

Merry Demarest Oral History Interview, 2017

Oregon State University

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0:00 - Introduction and background

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Partial Transcript: Today's date is May 25, 2017. I am Justyn Jacobs. I am Meredith Bowers. And I am Lucy Hillenbrand. This is an oral history interview with Merry Demarest in Corvallis, OR...

Segment Synopsis: Demarest briefly describes her childhood and upbringing as well as her early awareness of social issues, such as abuse within the family and the issues affecting gay and lesbian people.

Keywords: abuse; childhood; education; LGBTQ; parents

Subjects: education Families family violence parents sexual minorities

4:05 - Experiences in college | Mormon Church

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Partial Transcript: Do you want to talk a little bit more about where you went to college and your college experience?

Segment Synopsis: Demarest describes her experiences with activism in college. She also talks about her relationship with the Mormon church, focusing on their challenges to equality.

Keywords: anti-war movement; college; education; missionaries; Mormon church

Subjects: education Mormon Church social movements

6:00 - Involvement with the National Organization for Women (NOW)

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Partial Transcript: So, moving on, how did you first hear about the National Organization for Women, and what motivated you to get involved?

Segment Synopsis: Demarest describes her involvement with the National Organization for Women, a large feminist organization seeking equal rights for women.

Keywords: activism; Equal Rights Amendment; Hillary Clinton; National Organization for Women; political organizing

Subjects: activism Equal Rights Amendment Hillary Clinton National Organization for Women politics

11:27 - Involvement with After 8

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Partial Transcript: So were going to now be talking about your involvement with After 8. In your own words, can you describe what After 8 was?

Segment Synopsis: Demarest briefly describes her perceptions of and involvement with After 8.

Keywords: activism; After 8; LGBTQ

Subjects: Activism gender sexuality

14:14 - Involvement in the 1992 election

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Partial Transcript: Can you talk a little bit about your background during the 1990 election with Bill Clinton?

Segment Synopsis: Demarest describes her engagement with political organizing during the 1992 presidential election, including attending state fairs, canvasing, phone banks, and more.

Keywords: activism; Bill Clinton; campaigning; canvasing; political organizing; state fairs

Subjects: activism Bill Clinton political campaigns

19:27 - Involvement with Emily's List | Why is it important to have pro-choice women in high offices?

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Partial Transcript: So, moving on, well talk a little about your work with Emily's List. Can you just tell us a little bit about what Emily's List is?

Segment Synopsis: Demarest describes her involvement with Emily's List, which seeks to get pro-choice women elected to important political positions.

Keywords: abortion; activism; elections; Emily's List; guns; National Rifle Association; politics; pro-choice; sexism

Subjects: abortion activism elections gun control National Rifle Association politics pro-choice movement sexism

26:33 - Freedom from Religion Foundation and Mormon Church

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Partial Transcript: So, moving on to talking about the Freedom from Religion Foundation, how has that come about with your relationship, to your past relationship with the Mormon Church?

Segment Synopsis: Demarest describes the Freedom from Religion Foundation as it relates to her past with the Mormon Church. Though she was only marginally involved with the organization; her husband and his family were.

Keywords: activism; atheism; Freedom from Religion Foundation; Mormon Church

Subjects: activism atheism Mormon Church

28:33 - Involvement with Basic Rights Oregon & Human Rights Campaign

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Partial Transcript: And then, we'll be moving on and talking about Basic Rights Oregon. What was, how was it being one of the founding members of this organization?

Segment Synopsis: Demarest describes the development of Basic Right Oregon, the organizations goals then and now, and her involvement with the organization. She also describes her engagement with the Human Rights Campaign, including winning an award for community organizing and activism.

Keywords: activism; Basic Rights Oregon; healthcare; LGBTQ; lobbying; politics; prison system; Right to Pride; Right to Privacy; rights

Subjects: activism healthcare lobbying politics prisons rights sexual minorities

34:27 - Ballot Measure 0206 | Oregon Citizens’ Alliance

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Partial Transcript: So, you talked about earlier the Ballot Measure 0206. So, what exactly was that measure?

Segment Synopsis: Demarest talks about the Oregon Citizens' Alliance, an organization that sought remove legal protections for LGBTQ people.

Keywords: bigotry; homophobia; Oregon Citizens' Alliance; transphobia

Subjects: homophobia Oregon Citizens Alliance transphobia

40:28 - Involvement in Utah | Comparison of Utah and Oregon

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Partial Transcript: So, moving on, you spent some time in Utah campaigning. What were you campaigning for?

Segment Synopsis: Demarest describes her time campaigning for the Equal Rights Amendment in Utah, which she found to be surprisingly positive, even compared with Oregon.

Keywords: activism; campaigning; Equal Rights Amendment; Utah

Subjects: activism Campaigning Equal Rights Amendment Utah

47:12 - Involvement with the 2016 election | What message would you pass on to future generations from this election?

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Partial Transcript: And moving onto the 2016 election, can you talk a little bit about your involvement with the 2016 election?

Segment Synopsis: Demarest talks about her involvement with the 2016 election, her disappointment with the outcome, and sends a message to people in future generations.

Keywords: 2016 election; activism; campaigning; Hillary Clinton; politics; Southern Poverty Law Center

Subjects: activism campaigning elections Hillary Clinton Southern Poverty Law Center

54:35 - Involvement with the Benton County Democrats | Proudest activist moment | Future plans

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Partial Transcript: Can you talk a bit about your involvement with the Benton County Democrats?

Segment Synopsis: Demarest describes her long-standing involvement with the Benton County Democrats, one of her proudest activism moments, and her future plans as an activist.

Keywords: activism; Benton County Democrats; economic justice

Subjects: activism Benton County Democrats

58:16 - The importance of archiving

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Partial Transcript: And why is it important to you to archive this type of information?

Segment Synopsis: Demarest talks about the value of archiving histories of activism, which are full of different perspectives and can offer insight into the process of organizing.

Keywords: additional perspectives; Archives; history; visibility

Subjects: Archives history visibility

60:03 - Current activist involvements

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Partial Transcript: So, is there any movement or political action that you are involved in currently?

Segment Synopsis: Demarest talks about her current activists engagements as well as some recent events that have aught her attention, including a band in Oregon that have named themselves "Cherry-Popping Daddies"

Keywords: "Cherry-Popping Daddies"; activism; aging; American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon; Democratic Party of Oregon

Subjects: activism American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon Democratic Party of Oregon

62:21 - What does your daughter's political activism look like?

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Partial Transcript: And then, you've talked a little bit about your daughter and her involvement with Emily's List. What does her political activism look like?

Segment Synopsis: Demarest talks about her daughter's engagement with activism, which has often been focused around politics and feminist issues.

Keywords: activism; attorney; Center Against Rape and Domestic Violence; daughter; Hillary Clinton; politics

Subjects: activism Center Against Rape and Domestic Violence Hillary Clinton politics

65:07 - Interactions with patriarchy that inspire active role

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Partial Transcript: As a woman on the front lines of political activism, are there any particular political interactions with patriarchal leaders or ideologies that have or continue to inspire your activist role?

Segment Synopsis:

Keywords: inspiration; patriarchy

Subjects:

65:49 - Protesting at the Mormon Church

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Partial Transcript: Can you talk a little bit about the story where you were protesting outside the Mormon church and kind of had that shut down a little bit and had to be an activist in that moment?

Segment Synopsis: Demarest describes a story when she was protesting for the equal rights amendment and a man from the Mormon Church came outside and put his arm around her.

Keywords: Equal Rights Amendment; invasion of space; Mormon Church

Subjects: Equal Rights Amendment Mormon Church