Established during the 2001 mayoral campaign in Royal Oak, Michigan, Activate Royal Oak (ARO) was an Ann Arbor-based group of leftwing activists. Describing itself as “a collective of individuals working together to create a well-informed community of diverse individuals” and “open-minded citizens” with “strong ideas,” ARO specifically welcomed “the clash of strong opinions.” “We believe every idea is as important as any other,” said the organization, “and that discussion of these concepts can be used as a catalyst to construct a better understanding of social and political situations.”
ARO professed its determination to provide the public with “alternate sources of information”; to “create an informed community of citizens who accept their responsibility to partake in the local, state and federal government”; and to “create a global conscience that works toward the advancement of all people.”
After focusing mainly on local issues during its first two years, ARO expanded its scope in 2003 when it took a strong stance against the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Toward that end, ARO became a member organization of the United for Peace and Justice anti-war coalition, led by the pro-Castro radical Leslie Cagan.
In March 2004, ARO denounced members of the media who portrayed anti-war activists as unpatriotic. The organization called for a public boycott against one such media outlet — the Southfield, Michigan-based radio station WKRK — and its supporting advertisers.
ARO is no longer an active organization.