Welcome to the March 2018 edition of the Equity Lens! In this edition we recap a successful legislative session, profile CCC leaders, and highlight the work of our members, partners, and community leaders.
Here's a quick overview of this edition of the Equity Lens:
SAVE THE DATE: 2018 Summer Soirée
The PAALF People's Plan
CCC Portland Clean Energy Fund
Asian Allyship in Black Liberation
Metro Regional Housing Measure
PROFILE: Djimet Dogo
Welcome, Nakisha Nathan, CCC's New Leadership Development Director!
Coalition of Communities of Color
Tuesday, June 12, 2018
1300 SE Stark St.
Portland, OR 97214
About the Event
Together we’re building the power of our communities for racial justice across cultures. Summer Soirée is our chance to come together as one community for an evening of conversation, idea sharing and inspiration. Join us June 12 at Revolution Hall for a dynamic program, live auction and happy hour, and let us toast to the future of our collective action.
2018 Legislative Recap: How did racial equity fare at the 2018 Oregon Legislature?
The Legislature adjourned for 2018 on March 3, and while we saw significant progress for racial equity, there is much work to be done in 2019 and beyond. There were multiple victories in housing, along with important new legislation impacting the health and wellbeing of families.
Families are at the heart of our communities, and ensuring that children are not unnecessarily removed from their homes, and that families have a path to restoration, is critical to keeping our families strong. This session, Rep. Tawna Sanchez took action to support families as the chief sponsor of HB 4009. As introduced, HB 4009 would have required judicial authorization before a child could be removed by the state, meaning that kids would remain in their homes so long as they were safe. Currently, children of color are removed from their homes by child welfare services at far higher rates. The bill also created an opportunity for children who are waiting to be adopted to be reunified with their families by reinstating parental rights under certain circumstances when it is in the best interest of the child. The final version of the bill only included the second provision.
While we are very disappointed that the removal provision was eliminated from the bill, CCC is dedicated to continuing this conversation to ensure families have the support and resources to thrive. The amended bill passed out of the Legislature, meaning that children will have the chance to be reunified with their families, and we applaud Representative Sanchez’s leadership in passing this critical bill.
Victories in Housing and Health
All of our priorities in housing and health passed this session!
- Increasing resources for affordable housing: Stable homes are the foundation for strong families and communities. Affordable homes are scarce throughout our state, and families of color are some of the most impacted by rising housing costs. HB 4007 increased the document recording fee and will raise an additional $60 million for affordable homes, emergency rent assistance, and homeownership programs.
- Addressing racial disparities in homeownership: Homeownership is one of the most effective means to create housing stability and strong communities, and is also the main driver for wealth creation. Communities of color face dramatic disparities in homeownership rates, and the task force established by HB 4010 is a step toward increasing access to homeownership for these families. Thank you to Rep. Mark Meek for his work to advance racial equity in housing.
- Removing racist restrictive covenants: Restrictive covenants based on race exist in the titles to an untold number of Oregon homes, a stark reminder of our state’s history of legalized racism. While no longer enforceable, the process to remove these covenants is cumbersome. HB 4134 will ease the process to remove these covenants. The impact of these covenants and other ongoing inequities continue to this day.
- Advancing maternal health: The Legislature passed HB 4133 to establish a maternal mortality and morbidity review committee. African-American mothers face extreme disparities in maternal mortality rates, and this review committee is a step toward improving the health outcomes for mothers of color. Thank you to Representative Janelle Bynum for her work to pass this critical legislation.
Looking to 2019
We are disappointed that a number of priority items were left unfinished this session, and need to be at the top of the Legislature’s agenda for 2019.
- Early Childhood Equity Fund: HB 4066 would have established a fund to invest in culturally specific early learning programs with proven records of success. These highly effective programs have been left out of the early learning system long enough. Due to the Legislature’s failure to commit resources to these critical programs, children of color across our state will have to wait another year due to the Legislature’s failure to commit resources to these critical programs.
- Paid family and medical leave: Workers of color are disproportionately impacted by a lack of access to paid leave, and the Legislature must act in 2019 to ensure that workers’ income is protected when they need to care for family members or recover from a serious illness.
- Small donor elections: A small donor elections program would strengthen democracy by breaking down barriers to running for office and amplifying the voices of Oregonians, including communities of color who face systemic barriers to building wealth.
- Bold action on climate: This session ended with preliminary steps toward a Clean Energy Jobs program. CCC and its members will continue to push for environmental justice to be at the core of its climate policy.
With the adjournment of the 2018 session, it’s time to begin planning for next year and building power to advance racial equity. Legislators of color took action on urgent issues impacting communities of color and helped center conversations around racial justice. 2018 saw the most diverse group of legislators yet, and we look forward to next year’s long session with legislators of color leading the way to find solutions that will lead to a better Oregon for all of our communities.
The PAALF People's Plan
The PAALF People's Plan lays out a vision of a thriving, empowered Black community and asserts the right of Black people to be in and shape community no matter our neighborhood -- from the North to the Numbers. The plan frames a Black community policy agenda and advances community-initiated projects as a powerful tool for organizing, advocacy, and implementation. The Plan is a result of twenty-six community events, which engaged over 400 Black community members using varied engagement approaches. PAALF People's Plan is strengths-focused, moving from simply naming issues to collectively building solutions for our community. This represents an empowering transformation in the community engagement process. Learn more at https://www.paalf.org/paalf-peoples-plan/.
The Gordly-Burch Family House
PAALF also launched a successful project to purchase and preserve the 113-year-old Gordly-Burch family home located at 4511 N. Williams Ave in Portland, Oregon, and establish a cultural center honoring the historic heart of Oregon’s largest African American/Black community.
The property has remained in the Gordly-Burch family since its purchase in 1949. At that time uncensored racial prejudice and antisemitism were pervasive, including racist property laws that prevented African Americans from purchasing homes and redlining that prevented lending to purchase homes. The Gordly family, however, was able to purchase the home from the Jewish residents willing to help root the family in the neighborhood. The home remains an important piece of the family’s history and an important artifact of the racial justice movement from the 1950s to present day. The family members included Mrs. Beatrice and Mr. Fay Gordly, their children-- Avel Gordly, Faye (Gordly) Burch and Tyrone Gordly.
The Gordly-Burch family continues to be a symbol of self-determination in the Black community. The family has a long history of helping to advance community empowerment. Mr. Fay was a railroad worker with the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and Maids labor group a Mason and active with the A Phillip Randolph movement, and Mrs. Beatrice was a long-time member of Mt. Olivet Baptist church and a Grand Worthy Matron of the Eastern Star.
Faye Burch, previously Governor Barbara Roberts’ Senior Policy Advisor and later serving as the Advocate for Minority and Women- Businesses, She was a co-owner of five gift shops and a small food service restaurant at the Portland International Airport for twelve years while building her business as a Project Development consultant, business leader, public policy advisor, community activist. In that role, Ms. Burch has coordinated over a Billions of Dollars of opportunities for Minority and Women Businesses and job training programs. Ms. Burch received a Congressional appointment and served on a National Small Business Commission holding hearings in Alaska, Washington, California, and Virginia. Her business has received several U.S. Small Business Administration awards and recognition in the field of construction as a Woman of Vision and a Newsmaker.
The Honorable Avel Gordly was the first African American woman elected to the Oregon State Senate, representing a geographic area that included the predominantly Black area of North and Northeast Portland from 1991 until her retirement in 2009. Her legislative record included initiatives that focus on cultural competency in education, physical and mental health, and the administration of justice and the development of legislation that continues to benefit low-income communities of color, young children, the elderly, and other vulnerable Oregonians. She served on state committees including Joint Ways and Means, Education Policy, Trade and Economic Development, and Environmental Quality. She advocated for and then co-chaired former Governor John Kitzhaber’s Task Force on Racial and Ethnic Health and established the nationally recognized Governor’s Environmental Justice Task Force.
CCC Portland Clean Energy Fund
Climate justice and energy democracy has been lifted up as a key priority for our members. For this reason, the Coalition of Communities of Color has endorsed the Portland Clean Energy Fund after serving a key leadership role in its design.
The Portland Clean Energy Fund will provide job training, apprenticeships, and minority contractor support to weatherize and solarize Portland homes and businesses, make energy efficiency upgrades for affordable housing, build clean energy infrastructure, and increase local food production. Funding and initiatives are targeted to ensure opportunities for communities historically left out of the economic engine.
Funding for this work will come from a 1% Business License Surcharge on billion-dollar retail corporations operating in Portland. We are asking for just 1% from the top 1% to address the pressing issues of racial inequities, growing economic inequality and climate change.
At a time when so many of us have to say NO far too often, this initiative is an opportunity for Portlanders to say YES in a big way. We can serve as a national model in responding to climate change and economic inequities by creating a Just Energy Transition.
Please sign up here to learn more about the Portland Clean Energy Fund!
Asian Allyship in Black Liberation
What is the role of non-Black communities of color as in the movement to dismantle anti-Black racism? How do we organize ourselves and how do we build a new model as comrades and co-strugglers that is different from white model of allyship? Hyejin Shim poses a series of questions for the Asian and Asian American communities that pushes us to think beyond the ‘model minority myth’ to how we understand ourselves and the stories we tell in the context of the movement for Black liberation.
“As discourse on Asian American collusion in anti-blackness & American racism has grown in visibility, I’ve felt glad that more people are talking about Asian American antiblackness & racism, thankful that it’s pushing some more holistic organizing, and also, confused by how it seems that many Asian Americans are shaping their racial justice work through the model of white allyship (which I think many of us agree is ineffective and often more about white people’s feelings than about any substantive challenge to racism).”
Metro Regional Housing Measure
Metro, with assistance from community advisory committees, is developing a potential framework for a housing bond to increase housing stability and affordability throughout the region. After a community engagement process, Metro Council will decide in June whether to refer the bond for the November ballot. The Coalition of Communities of Color has been sitting at the community stakeholder advisory committee, along with a number of CCC members. We are working with our member organizations to ensure that racial equity is at the center of Metro's bond framework.
PROFILE: Djimet Dogo
A few months back, The Washington Post ran an article entitled, “The effects of climate change will force millions to migrate. Here’s what this means for human security,” in brief, the article highlights the effects of environmental consequences from climate change on human migration and life. To many, climate change and its effects are a very biological phenomena, affecting plants and animals, ice caps, extinction rates and carbon-storing, to name a few, but for Djimet Dogo, Director of the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO) Africa House, climate change has always been about people, and it is personal. Djimet himself is a refugee, having arrived in the United States from Chad nearly 20 years ago, but he also works with African immigrants and refugees every day at Africa House and sees similarities in their experiences. He explains the role of climate change in driving human migration as such:
“In my country [Chad], for instance, there is a progression of desert that is destroying all the farm-land. As nomads move their herds away from the advancing desert they move into the little farmland that is left. This creates conflict between tribes, between groups, and that's how people take sides, become divided; it leads to civil war and people end up as refugees. Climate change has caused drought and desertification and then the economic instability, conflict, and displacement that follows.”
Climate change can be a strong migration force. It drives conflicts around water scarcity due to desertification, disputes over control of (scarce) natural resources, and causes famine and disease. Though climate change can be the driver of larger conflict, it is often invisible, as much to us as to the refugees themselves. Djimet continues, “These conflicts [climate change driven] generate a lot of refugees who end up here [Oregon], but most of them don’t see themselves as being here due to climate change or due to the scarcity of natural resources driven by climate change.”
Djimet explains that there is often minimal discussion around climate change, let alone climate justice, at national levels in many African countries, and that many African immigrants and refugees arrive unfamiliar with U.S climate change rhetoric. This leads to an important solution for Djimet, education.
In 2017, Africa House and the Portland African American Leadership (PAALF) were awarded a grant through Meyer Memorial trust to conduct environmental justice strategic planning, community education and engagement, and advocacy agenda development through their “Afro-Ecology Series.” This process (to be completed in Spring 2018) will result in a strategic environmental justice plan prioritizing actions that reduce and eliminate environmental disparities and ensure the equitable distribution of benefits, including increased economic opportunity and investments. This collaborative effort will result in building and supporting leadership to identify and implement climate solutions. This is the first step to increasing opportunities for Africans and African Americans to build a base and have access to decision-making processes. Africa House, through a Gray Family Foundation grant, has also developed a multigenerational curriculum about climate change to share with African immigrants and refugees and to incorporate into the African Leadership Development Institute, one of CCC’s culturally specific leadership development programs. Africa House hopes to break down perceptions of environment and climate, which are often framed as political rather than spiritual and social. The environmental movement, Africa House found, should be rooted in self-determination, justice and spiritual connection to mother earth.
Climate (in)justices not only drive displacement from home countries but also affect African immigrants and refugees in Portland and around the State of Oregon. Frontline communities—communities of color, low-income communities, tribes, rural communities, immigrants, and refugees—are hit first and hardest by climate change and the pollutants that cause it. Climate change effects like drought, famine, heat waves, storms, polluted air, and water, expanding deserts, flash floods, etc, dictate so much of what African immigrants and refugees experience. Because climate change impacts immigrants and refugees first and hardest, their voices must be amplified and included in climate change efforts that have long excluded communities of color.
**Africa House, founded in 2006, serves about 5,600 community members from 22 ethnic and cultural backgrounds each year and is staffed by a multicultural team representing 17 ethnicities and speaking 10 languages. Africa House is the only culturally and linguistically specific one-stop center targeting the increasingly diverse and rapidly growing number of African immigrants and refugees living in Oregon. Africa House has received national attention for moving beyond intercultural strife to be the only center serving Africans from every country in the continent.
Welcome, Nakisha Nathan, CCC's New Leadership Development Director!
Nakisha believes that our communities flourish when we work together in mutuality, celebrate our diversity and highlight the development of our leaders as they self-organize, build power, and implement strategies for self-determination, wellness, justice, and prosperity.
Nakisha’s commitment to advancing social justice stem from spending her formative years living in Panama, Canada, Texas and throughout the United States. Her exposure to a variety of cultures, injustices, and ecological degradation contributed to her desire to facilitate transformational leadership that honors and celebrates individuals, communities and our natural and built environment.
A few years after graduating from Texas A&M University with a degree in bioenvironmental science, Nakisha began her leadership development journey as a community organizer with Texas Campaign for the Environment, where she and her colleagues generated statewide pressure that helped convince Dell and Apple Computers to establish a free Computer TakeBack program. Later, as a legal assistant for an environmental law firm, she continued to support community leaders who seek to protect their neighborhoods from polluting industries.
In the Summer of 2012, Nakisha moved to Portland and began her studies toward earning a Master of Science degree in Education, with a specialization in Leadership for Sustainability Education from Portland State University. During her time at PSU, she worked as a STEAM Garden Educator, cultivating students’ curiosity and facilitating experiential learning opportunities.
Nakisha joins us after working as a Climate Justice Organizer at Oregon Sierra Club Chapter, as a Community and Environmental Justice Organizer with Neighbors for Clean Air, and as the Program Coordinator for the Organizer-in-Training program at OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon. Nakisha serves as the co-chair of the Portland African American Leadership Forum’s Environmental Justice Committee, and continues to work with OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon and Neighbors for Clean Air as a member of each organizations’ Board of Directors.
When she’s not at work, Nakisha can be found playing a variety of games with her friends and family; camping with her partner and two dogs; photographing Oregon’s natural landscapes, flora and fauna; or, gleefully pursuing her quest to find every member of the Araucaria Araucana species (Monkey Puzzle Tree) in Portland.
Gender Pronouns: She/Her/Hers and They/Them/Their
Bridges Convening 2018: A Meaningful and Informative Cross-Cultural Event
On Saturday, March 10th, leaders from six culturally specific leadership development programs came together and learned about each other’s values, perspectives, and experiences at CCC’s 4th Annual Bridges Convening. Our keynote speaker and workshop facilitator, Robin Johnson, with the Center for Equity and Inclusion was the highlight of the event. Robin’s presentation balanced insightful information with personal storytelling to illustrate how people recognize the impacts of racism and privilege on their values and become empowered to begin collaborating in coalition with one another. Hopefully, those who were in attendance at the end of the program have had a chance to reflect further on the questions Robin posed at the close of the convening: How has the cycle of empowerment shaped your cross-cultural values? How do you intend to advance social justice or dismantle oppression through your personal work and your collective work?
Participants were thrilled to hear from guest panelists Becca Uherbelau, Laura Vinson, and Mary Moller who joined us from Metro, Lane County, and the Governor Kate Brown’s Office. Panelists spoke and answered questions about how our leaders can take advantage of opportunities and partnerships to increase their influence and access to more decision-making spaces for greater impact.
Over fifty Bridges Directory profiles were updated, and we received valued input from folks about how the directory can further support our leaders. This year’s convening also provided space for people to hear about and provide thoughts on how we lead the way in the creation of a clean energy future for our communities. The discussion included details about the ballot initiative for a Portland Clean Energy Fund that would raise $30 million per year to create solutions for climate justice.
Alumni and current leaders were invited to share their stories and values all throughout the event and the energy felt during these moments of cross-cultural learning and understanding was tangible! We’ve since heard from numerous participants how meaningful it was to hear from leaders in other programs and look forward to creating space for more cross-cultural collaboration. We were all further energized by a brief but joyful performance by Leonid Nosov who played the bayan (accordion) between the two-afternoon sessions. And a dozen of our leaders became spontaneous dancers and musicians during Chata Addy’s comedic, instructional and interactive performance!
Stay tuned to find out more about how this convening will continue to inform our work, and the work of our new Leadership Development Director, Nakisha Nathan. In the meantime, we encourage folks who haven’t done so to update their Bridges Directory Profile!
The short legislative session is in the home stretch, and we are continuing to push forward on our 2018 legislative agenda!
Culturally specific early learning programs, including many offered by CCC’s members, have strong records of successful outcomes for children and families of color. Yet these programs are not currently eligible for state funding to invest in these effective programs. The Early Childhood Equity Fund (HB 4066), would establish a fund to invest in culturally specific early learning program.
Latino Network has led a coalition of early childhood advocates to advance this bill. A number of CCC members have also been hard at work on this bill. Lee Po Cha from IRCO, Sadie Feibel from Latino Network, and Ashley Oakley from NAYA all testified at the hearing before the House Early Childhood and Families Supports Committee, along with CCC. At the hearing, committee members were visibly moved by their stories of the impact of culturally specific early learning programs on children and families. The bill passed out of committee unanimously and has seen widespread support and is now before the Joint Ways and Means Subcommittee on Education.
Despite the urgent need for this resource, legislators missed an opportunity to provide children and families of color with these critical programs by failing to pass HB 4066. We will be back next session to ensure that we are meeting the early learning needs for all of Oregon's young children.
Families are at the heart of our communities, and ensuring that children are not unnecessarily removed from their homes, and that families have a path to restoration is critical to keeping our families strong. Currently, children of color are removed from their homes by child welfare services at far higher rates. Representative Tawna Sanchez has taken action by introducing a bill that would prevent unlawful removals and give families a path to reunite with rehabilitated parents.
In its initial form, HB 4009 would have required judicial authorization before a child would be removed, meaning that kids would remain in their homes so long as they were safe. The original bill’s provision to create a path for restoring families remains in the bill and has moved forward. Dani Ledezma, CCC’s Interim Executive Director, testified on the need for this bill. It was amended in the House Judiciary Committee so that it only includes an opportunity for families to be restored when parents who no longer have parental rights are prepared to successfully parent their children. While we are very disappointed that the removal provision was eliminated from the bill, CCC is dedicated to continuing this conversation to ensure families have the support and resources to thrive. The amended version of HB 4009 passed. We applaud Representative Tawna Sanchez’s leadership in sponsoring this critical bill.
Maggie Tallmadge, CCC’s Environmental Justice Manager, testified about the need for environmental justice to be centered in Clean Energy Jobs legislation. We continue to advocate for action on climate through policies that meaningfully benefit most impacted communities. The final form of the bill remains under discussion. Representative Diego Hernandez has been a key champion for environmental justice and his leadership has been critical to incorporating climate justice into the policy.
Clean Energy Jobs did not pass this session, although the Legislature took some important steps toward developing a program for legislation during the 2019 session. CCC and its members will continue to push for environmental justice to be even more central to climate policy.
Housing and Health
Other CCC priority items include HB 4134, which would streamline the process for removing racially restrictive covenants. This bill has passed out of both the House and the Senate and will go to the Governor’s desk. A bill to increase the document recording fee to fund affordable housing, emergency rent assistance, and homeownership (HB 4007) passed. A bill establishing a task force to address racial disparities in homeownership (HB 4010, with Representative Mark Meek as a co-chief sponsor) passed unanimously out of the Joint Committee on Ways and Means. Maxine Fitzpatrick, Executive Director of PCRI, testified about the urgency of addressing the homeownership gap and PCRI’s work on Pathway 1000. CCC also testified about the need for a maternal mortality and morbidity review committee (HB 4133). Representative Janelle Bynum, a co-chief sponsor of the bill, gave powerful testimony about the dramatic racial disparities in maternal mortality rates, and CCC testified emphasizing that implicit bias in health care and the impact of chronic stress. HB 4133 passed.
We are heartened to see the leadership of legislators of color addressing the most pressing issues in our communities. The current Legislature is the most diverse ever, and this representation is resulting in bills that address some of the most pressing issues faced by communities of color. We look forward to a more equitable Oregon thanks to their leadership, and the dedicated advocates working for racial equity in our state legislature as we move toward the end of the 2018 legislative session. All of our priorities for housing and health passed this session!
Coalition of Communities of Color Legislative Action Day Recap
The collective power of communities of color was out in full force on February 8 for the Coalition of Communities of Color's 2018 Legislative Action Day! For our 6th annual lobby day, more than 60 attendees met with 40 legislators to talk about CCC's 2018 legislative agenda and solutions for the most pressing issues impacting our communities. The session may be short, but our attendees covered a lot of ground, sharing their stories and advocating for issues from the creation of an Early Childhood Equity Fund to affordable housing to climate justice. We were honored to have Representative Teresa Alonso Leon, Representative Diego Hernandez, and the Governor's Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion join us in the morning to share their vision for racial equity in government and inspire future political leaders.
If you haven't seen photos of CCC advocates in action yet, check them out here. And many of our CCC members also held legislative action days this session—check out photos from the Urban League, NAYA Family Center, and APANO. IRCO will be holding their legislative action day this Friday.
Thank you to everyone who joined us, and if you missed CCC's Legislative Action Day this year, we hope that you'll be able to attend next year. The legislative session ends on March 9, so stay tuned for our recap of the session in our March Equity Lens newsletter.
The Coalition of Communities of Color (CCC) invites you to join us for the 4th Annual Bridges Convening for a day of networking, relationship-building, and discussions on cross-community issues and meaningful leadership!
All current cohort and alumni members from the African American Leadership Academy, African Leadership Development Institute, Asian Pacific Islander Community Leadership Institute, LEAD, Slavic Leadership Development Project and Unid@s are invited and encouraged to attend.
Breakfast and lunch will be provided. A hosted reception will follow from 4:30-6 PM.
Stipends for childcare and travel will be provided with advanced notice.
Attention Bridges alumni and current cohort members: Please register in advance and update your Bridges Profile in the Directory. Alumni and current cohort who have updated their profiles and are present during the reception, which immediately follows the convening, have a chance to win an iPad (one of two we have to give away!) or a $50 Visa gift card!
For more information, contact Nakisha Nathan, Leadership Development Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Director, Executive Appointments & Constituent Services
Office of Governor Kate Brown
Mary is currently the Director of Executive Appointments and Constituent Services in the Office of Governor Kate Brown. The Director engages with a variety of stakeholder groups across the state to identify qualified volunteers to serve on Oregon's over 300 boards and commissions. The Director recommends candidates for the Governor's selection and guides appointments through the Senate confirmation process. In addition to Executive Appointments, she manages Governor Brown’s Constituent Services operations and supervises team members who execute constituent responses.
Mary moved to Washington, D.C. after graduating from college to be the Legislative Director for the United States Student Association (USSA) where she worked on national policy to increase access to quality higher education including the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. After her time at USSA, Mary went to the Hill and joined the Office of Congressman David Wu as a Legislative Assistant where she worked on many policy areas including energy, transportation, natural resources, and education. Before joining the Governor's office Mary was the Director of Local and Federal Government Relations in Portland State University’s Office of Government Relations where she supported President Wim Wiewel’s vision and transforming work at PSU that resulted in a stronger urban serving four-year university in the heart of Portland.
Mary is an Oregonian and a graduate of Portland State University where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Community Development. During her time at PSU, she was proud to serve as student body President and was often involved with advocating for higher education in Oregon’s state capital and in Washington, D.C.
Contact information: Mary.Moller@oregon.gov
For more information, contact Nakisha Nathan, Leadership Development Director, at email@example.com
Title: EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Status: Full-time, exempt
Reports to: Board of Directors
Location: Portland, Oregon
The Coalition of Communities of Color (CCC) seeks a passionate Executive Director to lead a member driven organization that advocates for racial justice by addressing socioeconomic disparities, institutional racism, and inequity of services experienced by our families, children and communities. The ideal candidate will have a combination of experience leading an organization, managing staff, fundraising, developing relationships and organizing communities of color and underserved populations for collective action resulting in social change to obtain self-determination, wellness, justice and prosperity.
Formed in 2001, the CCC is an alliance of culturally-specific and pan-immigrant and refugee community based organizations. The CCC supports a collective racial justice effort through policy analysis and advocacy, culturally-appropriate data and research, and leadership development in communities of color. The Executive Director serves as the chief executive officer of the CCC overseeing all operational and administrative functions. The Executive Director reports to the Board of Directors and works with CCC staff in the daily operations of the CCC.
The Director’s top priorities are fundraising, organizational and staff development and relationship building with CCC members and partners. The general duties of the Director include but are not limited to, the following and will evolve as the CCC continues to grow:
- Organizational Administration and Development (25%)
- Ensures ongoing programmatic excellence and consistent quality of finance and administration, fundraising, communications, and systems; recommends timelines and resources needed to achieve the strategic goals;
- Ensures effective systems to track scaling progress, and regularly evaluates program components, so as to measure successes that can be effectively communicated to the board, funders, and other constituents
- Develops, maintains, and supports a strong Board of Directors;
- Works with the Board of Directors in carrying out established policies, reviews those policies and makes recommendations for changes; attends meetings, ensures preparation of reports, maintains records, and communicates about any emerging and pertinent internal and external issues that affect the organization;
- Develops a strategic plan with the guidance of the Board and members and with the support of the staff;
- Creates and oversees the organization-wide budget of more than $1M to ensure financial stability and growth of the organization, and develops staff capacity to assist in building and managing program budgets; and
- Conveys financial information and concepts to the Board and staff.
Staff Management and Development (25%)
- Provides staff supervision, mentoring and oversight for all CCC staff;
- Monitors and addresses all matters of organizational climate and culture;
- Fosters a collaborative, mission-driven environment that engages, challenges and supports team members in meeting organizational and personal goals; and
- Approves all matters regarding employment, retention, and dismissal of personnel.
- Actively participates in and leads the development and implementation of a fundraising plan;
- Identifies, cultivates and secures funding sources including major donors;
- Leads and facilitates professional development, coaching and support of CCC staff; and
- Deepens and refines all aspects of communications—from web presence to external relations with the goal of creating a stronger brand.
Program and Relationship Development (25%)
- Manages and facilitates resolution of the sometimes competing demands and occasional conflicts among the various constituencies and member organizations of the nonprofit;
- Aligns multi-issue programs under a singular and focused vision and strategy;
- Represents the organization to all of its constituents;
- Represents the organization in its relations with business, state, and federal agencies and with local, state, regional, and national organizations; and
- Uses external presence and relationships to garner new opportunities for the CCC.
The Director should demonstrate experience and skills in balancing the four primary work duty areas and should meet or exceed the following criteria:
- Bachelor’s degree or four years equivalent experience
- Minimum of 5-7 years of progressive leadership experience with manager and/or director level experience, ideally working with and serving communities of color
- Ability to understand and manage complex political situations and navigate high-stakes competing interests
- Experience and demonstrated track record of success with fundraising and grant development
- Experience developing and managing budgets of at least $500,000
- Excellent verbal, written, and digital communication skills; ability to communicate effectively with a wide range of audiences
- Comfortable with community outreach with an intent to engage in the broader community as the face and ambassador of the organization
- Commitment to racial justice and demonstrated ability to interact effectively with people from different cultures and experiences; ability to lead and work with cross-cultural environments and occasionally regionally diverse environments including rural communities
- Ability to develop and build relationships with tribal communities
- Awareness of differences among vulnerable populations and the disparities faced by communities of color
- Ability to learn and build on varying cultural and community norms of diverse CCC communities;
- Strong management skills, including managing a team environment and willingness to make difficult disciplinary and personnel decisions
- Ability to communicate effectively with different constituents
- Clarity of values that are critical to organizational culture, along with the ability to communicate those values to the organizational community and
- Willingness to work a flexible schedule to meet the needs of the organization, including evenings and weekends
Starting salary is $75,000-$95,000 depending on experience. Paid time off is based on tenure with the organization and is generously accrued. We also provide medical, dental and vision insurance, a Flexible Spending Account, and Life Insurance. Employees may enroll in a 401k retirement plan with employer contribution after one year of employment. We provide an $80/month transportation stipend and a cell phone stipend.
Please send a cover letter and resume via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please submit application materials by Wednesday, March 7, at 5:00 pm. All applicants will be notified once a hiring decision has been made.
Please join the Coalition of Communities of Color (CCC) in welcoming our new Leadership Development Director, Nakisha Nathan. Nakisha is a familiar face to CCC members because she has served on the PAALF board as co-chair of the Environmental Justice Committee. She brings significant leadership development, mentoring and organizing experience and most recently served as the Climate Justice Organizer for the Oregon Chapter of the Sierra Club. Nakisha has a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership and Policy from Portland State University. We are very excited to welcome her to the team at CCC and look forward to the capacity she will bring to CCC and our members.
Nakisha's first day will be on February 6th. You can contact her at email@example.com
Coalition of Communities of Color Legislative Action Day, February 8
Join advocates for racial justice from around the state at the Coalition of Communities of Color Legislative Action Day on Thursday, February 8, in Salem, Oregon. Advocates will be coming together to meet with legislators to talk about a racial equity agenda for the 2018 legislative session.
During the Legislative Action Day, you will:
- Hear from legislators leading on advocacy for communities of color
- Meet with legislators to share your story and talk about issues that are important to you
- Learn more about bills with an impact on communities of color
If you're new to legislative advocacy, this is a great way to get experience meeting with legislators. We will provide you with all the training and information you need. For experienced advocates, this is an opportunity to come together and show that policymakers must prioritize racial equity during this legislative session. The event is free and lunch will be provided.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 18, 2018
Jenny Lee, Advocacy Director
Coalition of Communities of Color
2017 Racial Equity Legislative Report details progress and work to be done at Oregon Legislature
Salem (January 12, 2018) – Days before celebrating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and just a few weeks before the beginning of Oregon’s 2018 legislative session, the 2017 Racial Equity Legislative Report has been released to examine the Legislature’s commitment to policies that improve the lives of Oregonians of color.
This is the fourth edition of the Racial Equity Legislative Report, which has been produced by a working group consisting of the Coalition of Communities of Color, the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO), Basic Rights Oregon, Causa, Partnership for Safety and Justice, Unite Oregon, and the Urban League of Portland.
Legislation was selected for inclusion in this report if it was explicit about addressing racial equity; reduced or removed systemic or institutional barriers that lead to inequitable outcomes; and protected against racial discrimination and violence. Communities of color, immigrants, and refugees identified and proactively worked on legislation they marked as priorities.
In 2017, the Legislature passed four pieces of groundbreaking racial justice legislation that was supported by advocates for communities of color:
End Profiling: Oregon banned profiling by law enforcement and implemented systemic accountability measures. This bill also made small-scale possession of drugs a misdemeanor with access to treatment, instead of a felony.
Ethnic Studies: This bill directs the Oregon Department of Education to convene an advisory group to develop statewide ethnic studies standards for adoption into existing statewide social studies standards.
Cultural Competency: This bill requires public institutions of higher education to provide ongoing cultural competency development opportunities and create standards for cultural competency.
Reproductive Health Equity: This bill ensures that all Oregonians, regardless of income, citizenship status, or gender identity, can access the full range of preventative reproductive health services.
Tenant protections: The Legislature missed a major opportunity to protect Oregonians who rent their homes by failing to end no-cause evictions and allowing local governments to regulate rents.
The report also notes the increased representation of communities of color as Oregon’s legislative body diversifies. The number of legislators of color has more than doubled since the 2015 biennium. While this falls far short of representing Oregon’s increasingly diverse population, it represents meaningful progress toward a government that represents its people. In addition, the report presents stories of people of color engaged as advocates or legislators and their experiences at the Capitol.
The 2017 Racial Equity Legislative Report is a call to action for policymakers to work with communities of color to create a more equitable Oregon and end systemic racism by championing solutions rooted in communities where they will be implemented. In 2017, Oregon saw meaningful progress toward this goal, with much work still to be done.
The report can be downloaded at: http://www.coalitioncommunitiescolor.org/2017-facingrace.
For media inquiries, please contact Jenny Lee, Advocacy Director at the Coalition of Communities of Color, at (503) 317-1058 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy Holidays and welcome to the December edition of the Equity Lens! In this edition we reflect on the work of our members, partners, and community leaders.
Here's a quick overview of this edition of the Equity Lens:
End of the Year Wrap Up & Report
CCC New MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: Muslim Educational Trust
CCC Advocacy Update
Portland Indian Leaders Roundtable
PILR'S 4yr Strategy with Multnomah County
Portland United Against Hate
Senate Bill 13: Tribal Education Becomes Law
Train Song by Santos Herrera
END OF THE YEAR Wrap up & REPORT
As the year comes to an end, many of us are reflecting on a year filled with unprecedented challenges. With each challenge our coalition members responded with resilience, grace and hope. Despite a toxic national discourse, our 19 member organizations and the communities we serve focused on how to respond to community needs and how to shift the narrative by placing children, families and community in the center. Our communities looked toward a future more reflective of our shared values and collective belief in the strength and assets of communities of color. Amidst a shadow of fear, the CCC and our members worked collectively with community to stand up, raise our voices and push back.
The Coalition of Communities of Color and our members were extremely productive in 2017. We worked with community to convene focus groups, discussion groups, information sessions and work groups to inform and drive community based research and advocacy. We developed and trained leaders who in turn used their skills, passion and advocacy to lobby decision makers and advance important policy changes that will positively impact communities of color. We continued to develop, support and strengthen relationships with established and new partners. And we made time to celebrate each other, communicate our successes and plan for 2018.
Below is a sampling of some of our 2017 accomplishments:
Research Justice By the Numbers:
- 33 research partners participating in our research justice vision
- 155 community participants helping lead research
- 15 community conversations to conduct community-based participatory research
- 2 published research reports
- 7 cities in the Washington Country research project
- 2 counties in the Portland Metro area
- $50,000 in funding for research capacity building
Leadership Development by the Numbers:
- 80 Bridges Alumni attended the Bridges convening in February 2017
- 8 Bridges alumni are in the Metro Pilot
- 40 Bridges alumni and community members participated in Metro Discussion Groups
- 40+ people attended the Metro leadership meet and greet (15 of which were Bridges alumni)
Community and Economic Development Program By the Numbers
- 1 Three day “Justice & Ecology” retreat with Movement Generation
- 4 Environmental and Climate Justice workshops
- 10 Active CCC members actively involved in CED program activities
- 12 REDEFINE Monthly Meetings (and many others!)
- $280,000 in collective fundraising for member capacity building and work on Environmental and Climate Justice
- Innumerable laughs and smiles
Advocacy Program By the Numbers
- 150 attendees at Legislative Action Day
- 50 legislators visited during Legislative Action Day
- 21 policies endorsed
- 7 bills passed
- 1 report published, “Building Community: A Disparate Impacts Analysis and Cross-Cultural Agenda to Prevent Displacement and Gentrification”
- 4 steering committee memberships and countless coalitions
If you are as inspired as we are, we encourage you to consider making an investment in the success of the CCC and our members though a donation. Your support will help the CCC and our members continue to provide vital services, programming and advocacy in support of racial justice in Oregon.
This year, several of our member organizations are in Willamette Week’s Give Guide (www.giveguide.org): Hacienda CDC, IRCO, KairosPDX Learning Academy, Latino Network, NAYA Family Center, SEI, Urban League and Voz. You can support them by donating through the link.
You can also support our members directly. A full listing can be found here: www.coalitioncommunitiescolor.org/ccc-members
To donate directly to CCC:
CCC NEW Member Spotlight: Muslim Educational Trust
The Coalition of Communities of Color is excited to welcome its newest member, the Muslim Educational Trust!
Tell us about your organization and its mission and services.
The Muslim Educational Trust (MET) is a cultural, social, and educational institution founded in 1993 with a mission to enrich the public’s understanding of Islam and dispel common myths and stereotypes, while serving the Muslim community’s educational, social, and spiritual needs in order to develop generations of proud and committed Muslims who will lead our community to the forefront of bridge building dialogue, faith-based community service, and stewardship of Earth and humanity.
MET engages extensively with the broader community to foster the general public’s understanding of Islam and raise awareness about the importance of equity and social justice for all. Our work includes monthly public forums for community members to engage and grow closer in mutual respect, understanding, and compassion, public lectures, interfaith dialogue, outreach to local media organizations, cultural competency training, the Know Your Neighbor Campaign, the Silk Road Cultural Diplomacy program, and efforts to highlight Muslims in the public square across all professions. This work leads to consciousness of our stereotypes and reshaping our mindset to see each other as equally human.
Within the Muslim community, we work to meet the needs of Muslims and develop strong leaders within our community. We work to advance the education and leadership skills for all Oregon Muslim youth. The Oregon Muslim Youth program offers youth enrichment, engagement, leadership, and mentoring. MET also offers a unique, holistic educational experience through its two full-time, licensed, and accredited Islamic schools, the Islamic School of MET serving Pre-K–5th grades and the Oregon Islamic Academy serving 6th–12th grades, as well as through its Weekend Islamic School and two scholarship opportunities for college and high school students
Our work supports positive integration for new immigrant communities, civic engagement, leadership development, education, outreach, and partnerships with government officials to make the Muslim community’s voice heard. Promoting collaboration between Islamic organizations in the Portland metro area and Southwest Washington is another way we are strengthening our community.
MET is the co-founding member of the following interfaith organizations and coalitions: the Institute for Christian Muslim Understanding, Arab-Jewish-Muslim Dialogue, Interfaith Council of Greater Portland, the Beloved Community of Oregon Coalition, and Between Women Interfaith Group.
What are your top priorities and hopes for 2018?
In 2018, we will be working to expand programs to reduce fear and build bridges of compassion and understanding of Islam and Muslims in light of current political landscape. To this end, we will continue our civic engagement, education, and outreach work, as well as positive integration for new immigrant communities. The sustainability of our program is another major priority, as we work to pay a $4 million construction loan to complete the center and expand an endowment to sustain the organization for the long-term.
What do you look forward to about being a member of and working with the Coalition of Communities of Color and its members?
MET spends a significant amount of time working with and supporting our local immigrant and refugee community, most of whom are people of color. We believe that our perspective can be an added value to the Coalition, and we hope to, in turn, learn from other local organizations about their communities and how we can better support each other.
2018 Legislative Preview
The goal of CCC’s Advocacy programs is to advance policies throughout Oregon that have the best potential to improve outcomes for communities of color. To achieve our goal, we are committed to building the capacity of our members and communities of color to successfully advance policy agendas, reform policy practices to ensure authentic community engagement of the communities most directly impacted by policy change and to shift political discourse to centralize the voices of communities of color in policy.
During the 2017 Legislative session, the Coalition, our members and coalition partners had significant advances in reaching our advocacy goals and we look forward to continuing to build a movement for positive change in the upcoming session.
Coalition members have come forward with items for endorsement in 2018, and we are now in the midst of our endorsement process for our 2018 legislative agenda. While we have not yet finalized our support, we would like to share some of the issues we may endorse for a legislative sneak preview:
- Early Childhood Education Equity Fund, led by the Latino Network, supporting culturally specific early learning services to close the opportunity gap for children of color in communities throughout our state.
- Small donor elections, creating an alternative to Oregon’s existing campaign finance system to give small donors a more powerful voice in elections, potentially helping to elect more candidates of color and building the power of communities of color.
- Clean Energy Jobs, accounting for the cost of pollution and reinvesting substantial proceeds into most impacted communities. We are advocating hard to center environmental justice and equity in this important bill, which has historic potential to address the impact of climate change on communities of color in Oregon.
The legislative session begins February 5 and must adjourn by March 9. Bills move on an extremely tight timeline, so we anticipate a month of busy advocacy in Salem to move a racial equity agenda. We’ll be releasing the Racial Equity Report Card, an important advocacy tool, before session begins.
We will also be holding another CCC Legislative Action Day on February 8. Last year, we had over 150 attendees come to Salem and meet with legislators on our legislative priorities, helping secure the passage of many bills to advance racial equity in Oregon. If you want to participate, contact Jenny Lee at email@example.com for more information.
Advocacy at the ballot
Oregonians aren’t used to voting in January, but next month a critical special election for healthcare will be held. Voting yes on Measure 101 will protect healthcare for Oregonians who could not otherwise afford it. CCC members are still determining their endorsement, with many of our members deeply concerned about the impact that this measure would have on healthcare for communities of color, so we are spreading the word now. Learn more about the campaign at yesforhealthcare.org.
We did see a success on the ballot this November—the Portland Community College bond, which passed by a large margin. As we move forward into the new year, we will continue to advocate for ballot measure campaigns, local government measures, and budget advocacy impacting communities of color.
November was National Native American Heritage Month. The Coalition of Communities of Color is taking this opportunity in Equity Lens to highlight some notable achievements among Oregon's the Native American community.
PORTLAND INDIAN LEADERS ROUNDTABLE
In 2007, Portland Indian Leaders Roundtable (PILR) published “Making the Invisible Visible,” to educate key audiences and the public about Portland’s growing Native American community, including consistent population undercounts and inequities in funding and services. Ten years later, working with tribes and almost 30 Native American organizations in the region, PILR has released “Leading with Tradition: Native American Community in the Portland Metropolitan Area.”
The Portland Metro Area sits on the traditional sites of the Multnomah, Wasco, Cowlitz, Kathlamet, Clackamas, Bands of Chinook, Tualatin Kalapuya, Molalla and may other tribes. Today our community represents over 380 tribes from across the country and 70,000 of Portlanders (a 16% increase in ten years). While our peoples have faced elimination, assimilation, and termination, we are now numerous, our stories are powerful and we are thriving.
Unfortunately, our community still faces wide disparities like the highest rates of poverty, homelessness and unemployment of any racial group; disproportionate rates of addiction, diabetes and depression. Too many of our Native children are in the foster care system (24%) and do not graduate from high school on time (63%). Our communities are still undercounted and misunderstood leading to inequities in services and outcomes.
However, Portland Metro’s Native American community continues to grow, thrive, innovate, contribute, and celebrate our heritage. We are working with our local jurisdictions, creating programming and tackling these disparities head on. We are building a collective vision for our children’s future and building stronger connections among the community. “We have important and diverse indigenous values and worldviews that contribute to the livability and uniqueness of Portland, and we see ourselves as part of its future.” We are not invisible, the report reiterates; we are building our collective future leading with tradition.
PILR's FOUR STRATEGY WITH MULTNOMAH COUNTY
Along with the Portland Indian Leaders Roundtable (PILR) update of “Leading with Tradition,” PILR asked Multnomah County to partner with the Native community to develop a four year plan that would address some of the community's highest priorities: “Reimagining and strengthening partnership: A four year plan between Multnomah County and Portland’s Native American community.”
We spoke with two Multnomah County staff, Anna Marie Allen, Shoshone-Bannock (Community Engagement Advisor, Chair Kafoury’s Office) and Oliviah Walker, Meskwaki (Senior Policy Analyst, Health Equity Initiative - Multnomah County Health Department) about the plan.
Anna (LEAD Alumni ‘14) and Oliviah (LEAD Alumni ‘17) supported the coordination of a series of conversations between county and community leaders. “County leadership is always looking for authentic ways to bring in community voice to shape and inform policy. Our current Board of Commissioners is diverse in their heritage and personal experiences. They are dedicated to centering community-driven policy priorities.” Chair Kafoury was eager to accept PILR’s request to partner on this plan when she sat down with them last April. Department staff and leadership have been eager to learn best practices and identify intersections with their work.
“Our hope is to come together under the values of authentic partnership to continue to elevate the needs of Native American/Alaska Native residents and ensure community-led priorities continue to receive support,” the draft reads. Multnomah County and the Native community are already partnering on programs like Future Generations Collaborative, WIC services, SUN Schools, Mental Health and Addiction Services, Native American Heritage Month, Community Health Improvement Plan, transitioning Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day, and more. The draft plan also outlines priority areas for increased partnership and improvement: culturally specific community engagement practices, maternal child health and elder services, housing strategies, early intervention and restorative practices that reduce youth incarceration and recidivism, and culturally responsive trainings for Multnomah County staff.
Very quickly, we learned local jurisdictions have separate and distinct obligations to Tribes and to Native American communities; jurisdictions must have experience and expertise to recognize these unique responsibilities. Each relationship must be grounded in the leadership of Native peoples, in honest and authentic partnership, and a recognition of historic and current injustices resulting in inequitable outcomes for Native American communities.
The plan and partnership, at first glance, seemed like a clash of two worlds. In fact, it was the integration of different worldviews and a prioritization of Native values that helped facilitate the process. The plan has been a concerted effort to center and authentically reflect voices of community while avoiding overtaxing or re-traumatizing communities and individuals that have been historically traumatized by systems. The Native American community is diverse-- mutl-tribal and mutl-racial-- and individuals have diverse experiences of privilege and oppression. Thus, community engagement must reflect this diversity. Engagement and recommendations exemplify a strengths-based approach, recognizing the contributions of the area’s Native American community, while intentionally focusing on improving outcomes for community members most in need.
Oliviah added “Community engagement is not organization-specific, but community-wide thus ensuring every division and department has a community engagement strategy (again without overburdening community)... There are a lot of reports [like those from the Coalition of Communities of Color] that talk about existing disparities, but it’s really about aligning those efforts and having one place to tell the story of partnerships that have happened between the Native Community and the County. What’s going to drive the work over the next five to ten years?” This plan is both a continuation and a start.
portland united against hate
The horrific Max attack on Memorial Day weekend, opened the eyes of Portlanders to the experiences that people of color, immigrants and refugees, religious groups and the LGBTQ face as hateful rhetoric gets amplified at the national and local levels. Portland United Against Hate is a community initiated partnership of Community Based Organizations, concerned communities and the City, working with the Office of Neighborhood Involvement to build a rapid response system that combines reporting and tracking of hateful acts and provide the support and protection our communities need.
Communities experience hate motivated violence in a variety of ways and there’s a need for a documentation process that enables those most impacted to be able to track hate incidents in a trusted manner. We firmly believe that communities are experts of their experiences who have a right to lift their lived realities as data. Therefore, the CCC in partnership with IRCO-Africa House, IRCO-Asian Family Center, Latino Network, Resolutions Northwest, Unite Oregon, Urban League of Portland and the Q Center completed seven intersectional and cross-cultural conversations with 75 participants in August through October in a project funded by the City of Portland, Office of Neighborhood Involvement.
Topics of the focus groups included: what hate is and what it looks like, experiences reporting hate crimes and incidents, and what a successful hate crime and incident reporting process would look like.
The main findings from the community conversations are:
- Hate looks like hateful speech and symbols, threats, physical attacks, stereotyping and profiling, and unequal access to resources and opportunities. Hate is systemic, and can manifest within groups and communities.
- Support is sought from family, community groups, religious leaders, and spiritual healers. However, many are unaware of what resources and supports are available, or do not have access to them.
- Hate may be prevented by recognizing what it looks like and how it manifests, education and learning about other groups and histories, and through intervention from bystanders when hate is occurring.
- Hate often goes unreported because of the feelings that attention is not given to incidents or these incidents are not taken seriously, the issue is often left unresolved, people in positions of authority may be the perpetrators, and reporting the incident may cause further harm.
Three main themes emerged to describe what a good hate crime and incident reporting process would look like:
- That the reporting process be person-centered and honor the narrative of the person who had experienced hate to aid in the healing process.
- That the reporting process not be re-traumatizing or cause more harm.
- That the reporting process is action-oriented.
For more information about this initiative and the full report, please contact Shweta Moorthy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SENATE BILL 13: Tribal Education becomes Law
By Se-ah-dom Edmo, Western States Center
The law fills a critical gap in our children’s education in Oregon, requires the teaching of American Indian/Alaska Native History & Sovereignty in all K-12 schools by 2019-2020.
Governor Kate Brown held a signing ceremony with tribal leaders from around the region for Senate Bill 13 earlier this fall, requiring school districts statewide to implement curricula developed by Tribes in Oregon covering tribal history and sovereignty.
Carried by Representative Tawna Sanchez (Shoshone-Bannock, Ute and Carrizo), and at the request of Governor Brown, the bill passed both chambers of the Oregon Legislature with unanimous support.
Western States Center was the coalition convener of the effort in support of the bill and took a movement building approach to our work by recognizing and centering the benefit for every Oregon student as the bedrock of our future body politic.
Oregon joins other states in our region like Montana, Washington, Wyoming and Idaho in building a fundamental understanding of tribal literacy and history among its K-12 students. The law is one piece of the eleven-point plan of educational objectives established by the Oregon Department of Education’s American Indian/Alaska Native Advisory Panel. This plan is the product of that process and is a road map for state efforts to improve opportunities and outcomes for Native American youth in Oregon.
ABOUT WESTERN STATES CENTER:
Western States Center builds the capacity and skills of community organizers and organizations working for racial and gender justice across the region. We envision our movement achieving a just society where we all flourish in sustainable, caring and connected communities. Learn more about our work at www.westernstatescenter.org. .
By Santos Herrera
In praise of the people who risk their lives on a train to cross the border
The steel wheel lullaby
sings them to sleep
brown bodies atop
a graffiti-covered box car,
their hearts, miles behind.
The bell of a railroad
crossing, the ding-ding-dinging.
They’ve made it?
of gallon water,
the rustle of a plastic bag
filled with the applause
of hand-made tortillas and tamales
wrapped in autumn gold.
The tap dance of rain
softens the hard Earth
while the train keeps singing
and singing and singing…
is a poet, and other contributions to Portland’s art scene include being a performer and assistant director at Teatro Milagro, a writer for Voz Alta, and a member of Profile Theatre's Community Council. Santos is also a Manager of School-Based Programs at Latino Network.
Dear Friends, Colleagues, and Partners:
Please join me in congratulating our colleague Rob Nathan who will be leaving the Coalition to work at Metro as the Solid Waste Community Engagement Specialist.
Even though we only got to work with Rob for a short time, he accomplished so much on behalf of our members and communities of color in the Metro region. Rob successfully staffed the BRIDGES convening earlier this year and has engaged and supported our BRIDGES network of leaders. Rob has also worked closely on the development of an innovate pilot project with METRO to engage BRIDGES leaders in meaningful and authentic dialogue on important civic issues in the region. Rob also was the lead on the CCC's local budget advocacy and helped secure vital funding for services for our members. Rob played a major role in planning and emceeing the CCC's 2nd Annual Summer Soiree.
Rob's leadership and passion for social and racial justice will be greatly missed. It was wonderful to work with such a delightful and amazing professional and I'm sure he will accomplish many great things for our community.
Rob's last day at CCC is today. He will begin at Metro on November 29th.
CCC will hire a new Leadership Director and the job description is now available on our website. Please forward this to your networks.
In the interim, if you have any questions or need assistance with Leadership activities at CCC, please contact me.
Interim Executive Director
Welcome to this edition of the Equity Lens! This edition provides a fresh look at the work of our members, partners, and community leaders.
Here's a quick overview of this edition of the Equity Lens:
CCC MEMBER SPOTLIGHT
CCC PARTNERSHIP WITH OREGON JUSTICE RESOURCE CENTER
CCC'S RESEARCH JUSTICE EFFORTS IN PARTNERSHIP WITH METRO
CCC MEMBER FALL GALA OVERVIEW
WELCOMING NEW CCC LEADERS TO HACIENDA CDC & PORTLAND AFRICAN AMERICAN LEADERSHIP FORUM
A Halloween Quiz!
CCC Member Spotlight: VOZ Portland
Executive Director, VOZ Portland
Voz is a worker-led organization that empowers diverse day laborers and immigrants to improve their working conditions and protect civil rights through leadership development, organizing, education and economic opportunity. We provide day laborers with leadership development opportunities as well as classes aimed at providing them with the skills they need to secure long-term employment. Voz uses Popular Education methodology in our leadership development and grassroots organizing, and we have a strong history of community engagement as a worker-led organization. Romeo Sosa has been Executive Director since 2004.
Where I came from:
The Mayan story is a story that goes back thousands of years. It is a story of struggle to defend our language, our tradition, our culture, and our religion from the Spanish who invaded us. As a Mayan growing up during 36 years of Guatemalan civil war, it was important to understand political justice-- why I was seeing bodies and houses burning. At eight, I learned rich people were taking land and the poor were fighting back to defend the land-- sacred, Mother, and life giver in my culture.
What is a day laborer?
When I came to the U.S., I discovered the irony of the American Dream: I did not find riches, but instead I worked in the fields and the first thing handed to me was a shovel. I was changed by the exploitation of workers and racism we experienced. In the past ten years, we challenged some of the community assumptions about day laborers and immigrants: that they are drunks, homeless, drug dealers, or terrorists. They are people seeking work, food, safety, and peace. I worked in the fields, cut Christmas trees, picked tomatoes and blackberries, worked as a janitor, and took care of people with disabilities. Too many jobs to count just to survive. I discovered VOZ when I worked in the St. Francis dining hall feeding day laborers.
How Voz formed:
VOZ began in 2000 and is becoming one of Portland’s strongest organizations pushing for immigrant rights. One of the main reasons VOZ exists is that we want day laborers to organize themselves, to stand up and speak up about the issues they face, and to ensure they are seen as equal. We are empowering people to change their own reality by creating solutions. We also founded the National Day Laborers Organizing Network so day laborers from across the country can share their experiences.
And we are seeing victories through our coalition work. We united with Portland Immigrant Rights Coalition and, with the help of the City of Portland, we established the first worker center in the city. There we offer skills, health and safety training and art, computer, and English classes while people wait for work. Because we need to have voices of day laborers in decision making processes, VOZ developed leadership development curriculum. Day laborers are becoming aware of their rights (and we put these on a “green card”), particularly regarding wage theft and immigration enforcement.
Over the past few years we have been integrating environmental and climate justice and disaster resilience into our work. This is particularly relevant with historical hurricanes and earthquakes battering our communities across Central America, Caribbean Islands, and North America. Day laborers are the first responders to natural disasters, yet the most exploited-- no access to safety precautions, facing wage theft, or even being deported when the job is done (so as to avoid payment). Day laborers need safety, rights, and green jobs training like we are doing with OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration). Our communities need green jobs-- not a decision between health, safety and work.
Our Fights are Connected
Now, more than ever, we must see the intersections between policies of the new administration, immigration and criminal justice, workers rights and climate justice. It is encouraging to see people uniting and working together around immigrant rights like I have never seen before. For example, OPAL organized a march to support immigrant rights because it is clearly connected to the dangers day laborers face when cleaning up from human induced climate change disasters. Rights for immigrants and workers is climate justice.
Oregon Justice ResOURCE Center's (ORJC) new advocacy guide focuses on disrupting mass incarceration at the local level
The United States is widely known as the world’s jailer. In recent months, the problem of racialized mass incarceration has gained increased attention, around the country and in Oregon.
A new Advocacy Guide, “Disrupting Mass Incarceration at the Local Level,” released earlier this summer by the Oregon Justice Resource Center provides a starting point. The Guide illustrates that locally-elected leaders at the city and county levels have tremendous power to drastically change systems of over-criminalization if pushed to do so by the communities they serve.
OJRC’s strategic local focus seeks to increase opportunities for engagement. Local level engagement removes some of the barriers to participation that too frequently prevent communities most impacted from having their voice heard, such as the time and travel needed to advocate with state legislators.
County and municipal actors also have great potential to perpetuate or eliminate the extreme racial disparities embedded within our criminal justice system. The Guide illustrates how local elected officials have a wide array of power and discretion to either decrease or increase our reliance on incarceration including local policies around whether to stop, to search, to arrest, to fine, to divert or charge someone, how long of a sentence to seek, and whether they will stay in county jail or go to a state prison.
The Guide provides a resource to build community power to make progress around racial justice and civil rights by holding elected leaders accountable. Increasingly, there is a push to direct limited tax dollars to fund more effective approaches and community led programs outside of the criminal justice system, including culturally responsive community supports that are more effective at prevention. There are multiple opportunities to engage in the budget process such as the county budget hearing hosted by the Coalition of Communities of Color.
For communities of color there is an added degree of urgency to this work that goes beyond the glaring racial disparities currently embedded within the justice system. Recently, some policy reforms across the country have led to a decrease in overall incarceration numbers but an increase in racial disparities. This troubling trend illustrates the necessity for communities of color to be included at the table in decision-making early on and to engage locally long after elections are won or reform bills are passed.
Currently, the Oregon Justice Resource Center is seeking community feedback, collaboration and ideas on approaches to transform the justice system at the local level. Presentations and assistance with facilitation are available free of charge. The Guide is publically available to download on the OJRC website here.
CCC & Metro Partnership: Leveraging the Value of Community Expertise When Making Important Decisions
This year the CCC organized multiple discussion-based community focus groups and conversations in the region to identify culturally specific community priorities and explore advocacy strategies while emphasizing community strengths. These activities included a spring and summer engagement of CCC Bridges Alumni with Metro to explore community priorities related to their five year racial equity strategy; eight culturally specific community conversations with African, African-American, Asian, Latino, Native American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders, and Slavic communities about racial equity issues in Washington county; statewide cross-cultural focus groups to develop a multi-racial narrative around racial equity; and a City of Portland wide series of intersectional and multiracial focus groups about people’s experiences with hate-motivated violence.
The CCC’s method of engagement is rooted in our culturally specific leadership development model and our research justice vision that asserts that people of color are experts of their lived experiences and have a right to be heard and a right to know information. During these workshops we focus on trust building and intentionality by create a space for shared experiences to be heard and where the labor and expertise of people of color is valued.
Our approach embodies the following values:
- Equitable partnership -- equitable community involvement from the beginning to the end of the process rather than a one-way mining of a community’s experiential and cultural knowledge.
- Community Priorities – Elevating expertise of communities of color, emphasizing community strengths, and addressing self-determined community priorities.
- Transformative Action – Enabling community-generated solutions in public policy and decision making towards creating lasting change.
- Sustainable Capacity – Building long term and sustainable capacity among communities of color to develop their own expertise, define priorities and propose meaningful solutions which goes beyond a single project.
- Transparency and Accountability – Commitment to a transparent process with built in accountability where communities that were engaged have the opportunity to provide critical review.
- Our clients agree with these principles and value culturally specific experiential and cultural knowledge that is typically left out of mainstream and colonized definitions of knowledge.
In order to find out more about how you can conduct community engagement in a way that is equitable and rightfully values communities of color as experts, contact either Shweta Moorthy (email@example.com).
CCC Member Fall Fundraisers Galore!
This fall, a number of powerful events were hosted by our CCC members to showcase their work, their strength and the resiliency of communities of color. Here are just a few of the events that have successfully taken place during this season, along with some fun pictures from social media. There are still plenty of future opportunities for folks to come out, have a great night, see the beauty of our communities, and financially support the important work of these culturally specific organizations. Both Milagro and the Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA) have exciting events coming up soon! If you’re interested in finding out more information about these upcoming events, please click on the links below to connect with their respective websites.
The CCC Welcomes New CCC Executive Directors to Hacienda CDC & Portland African American Leadership Forum
Executive Director, Hacienda CDC
Tell us about yourself and your racial justice vision
Since I arrived in Oregon, I have been asked this questions many times. My approach to racial justice emerges from my upbringing in Mexico. I was born to a plumber and a homemaker in a small community in Central Mexico. As many families still do today, we grew up in poverty. My first memories of home are those of a tarpaper house with two rooms that leaked every time it stormed. This was stressful, but I didn’t know any differently—it was simply the way our life was, so I did not think of it as a challenge. I had a wonderful childhood playing in the mud or catching bugs in adjacent empty lots with my brothers and sister and our neighborhood friends. My parents always asked us to dream big and study hard, and they led by example. I watched as my father went from a plumber to building his own construction company and soon after, my mom followed her own dream and became a nurse.
My own family’s story demonstrates the vast potential already present in our communities of color and low-income families. I see it as Hacienda’s work to make sure our families can access the critical ingredients they need to unleash that potential: a stable, affordable home, a healthy family life that allows our youth to learn and grow, opportunities for economic success, and access to affordable health care and healthy communities. My family relied on all of these assets, and thanks to my parents’ encouragement I have had amazing opportunities such as becoming the youngest violinist in the chamber orchestra in my home state, pursing degrees in architecture and community development, and helping to found the Arizona State University Stardust Center for Affordable Homes and the Family to empower other families like mine to seguir adelante. Now my partner, Susan, and I are passing these values along to our children Copitzi and Emiliano. And we’re also making sure they know about Benny Beaver, even though they grew up as Sun Devils!
My experiences and upbringing have shaped and strengthened my values and priorities. I joined Hacienda because we share those values with the people we serve; we shared the same struggles. Investing in our low- and moderate-income families and individuals from day one, in health care, housing, education and economic opportunity access are fundamental elements that will bring influence, resources and power to communities of color. And an Oregon where all Oregonians can reach their full potential is the version of Oregon we want to achieve.
What’s your favorite Fall-related activity?
Camping and getting to enjoy a nice and exhausting hike in the middle of the woods is one of my favorite things to do in the fall. Spending time in solitude contemplating nature is just amazing!
Executive Director, Portland African American Leadership Forum
Tell us about yourself and your racial justice vision.
I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio and raised in Montego Bay, Jamaica. I have been very blessed to join the Portland African American Leadership Forum family. I joined PAALF after managing the PAALF People’s Plan—a visioning project with the goal of empowering the Portland Black community to assert their right to actively shape the city they live in, to create a plan that framed the policy agenda projecting the vision for a thriving black community, and to advance community-initiated projects that benefit Africans and African Americans living in Portland, Oregon.
Before joining PAALF, I owned and managed Design + Culture, a collaborative design and racial equity strategy firm. I received my Masters in Arts in Theories of Urban Practice from Parsons the New School of Design in New York City. My graduate thesis examined the role of people of color in urban transformation and the practice of self-determination as a mode for producing healthy communities in my study the Right To Difference - Intercultural Modes Of Producing A Democratic, Participatory, And Inclusive Urban Space. I attended Miami University, receiving a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science. I am an active member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc., Pi Alpha Zeta Graduate Chapter, a member of the Miami University Young Alumni Council, and a member of the Community Alliance of Tenants (CAT).
My racial equity vision is grounded in self-determination. From the Nguzo Saba, we have come to know Self-determination as Kujichagulia, the meaning is to define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves. The principle is rooted in reclamation and preservation of an afro-centric concept of self and community, by listening and being guided by our inner voice.
What's your favorite Fall related activity?
I love the Fall! My favorite fall activity would have to be baking treats for my friends and family. I am very proud to say that my paternal aunt has shared my family's secret sweet potato pie recipe (trust me, this was not an easy task). Food is such an intimate activity; it feels good to enjoy this special family recipe with loved ones.