Businesses Can Foster Better Citizenship

Photo by Rowan Bradley, Scout Books

In 2017, we’re inviting our member businesses to author calls-to-action that align with our 2017 Focus Areas. Our April post is by Laura Whipple, CEO and co-founder of Scout Books, who explains why your voice is powerful and how business owners play a critical role in shaping policy and tying their work back to the community.

We founded Scout Books because we believe that little books can make a big impact. With recent political events, this impact has taken on new, urgent meaning. Our team shuffled into work on the morning of November 9th grieving and in shock. It was a scene that played out at businesses around the city. We gathered together and asked ourselves, “What can we do to channel this frustration?”

That day we worked as a team on a creative project in response to the election results and donated the proceeds to the ACLU. It was a form of print therapy. It felt good and did good. We wanted to repeat this effort.

Today I’m excited to announce our business chose to respond again: with the publication of “We the People Are Powerful!” a pocket guide to understanding your rights.

Please join Scout Books, Business for a Better Portland, and Commissioner Chloe Eudaly for our release party on Thursday, April 27 from 4 to 6 PM at The Redd and celebrate the release of “We the People are Powerful” during Design Week Portland.

In addition to giving out free copies of the book, we’ll also be writing postcards to our representatives. Register for the event here.

Between the cover of this booklet you’ll find advice on how to strengthen your relationship within your local community, whether that’s attending events and rallies or partnering with local grassroots organizations. Topics covered include an introduction to and contract information for state and local government officials; how to respond if you’re stopped by the police; understanding Oregon’s legislature and election cycles; and the best sources for news, information, and advocacy.

Illustrations by Sarah Mirk

This is the first project from the Scout Books Equity Alliance, a volunteer organization formed in the wake of the election of 2016. Employees donate their ideas, time, and creative talents to organize projects. We donate the materials and labor to produce the books. Our press operator Benjamin Charbonneau proposed this as our first project, and the team worked together to develop the content and connect with illustrators.

In these times, business owners play a critical role in shaping policy, embodying our values, standing up for what we believe in, and tying our work back to the community. At Scout Books, we’ve harnessed the resources we have at hand — paper, ink, presses — to make an impact locally. We, along with other businesses must harness the resources we have to promote a progressive response to the current political, environmental, and social reality. We must work together to create the change we want to see. The urgency of fully participating as individuals, and as businesses in this work has never been so critical.

As the activist and politician John Lewis so eloquently said, “If not us, then who? If not now, then when?”

We want to be an inspiration, and also a resource. This is only the beginning. Will you join us? Register for the event here.

In addition to inviting you to the event, we are looking for ten additional businesses in neighborhoods across the city to be distribution points for these (free!) pocket guides. If you’re interested, please reach out to Chloë Miller, our partnerships and engagement coordinator ( to learn more.

As always, find us at and learn about our past calls-to-action.