Press Release

CCC Press Release :: 2017 Racial Equity Legislative Report details progress and work to be done at Oregon Legislature

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Media contact:
Jenny Lee, Advocacy Director
Coalition of Communities of Color
(503) 317-1058
jenny@coalitioncommunitiescolor.org

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:

Criminal Justice

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.

Education

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.

Health

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.

Missed opportunity

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 jenny@coalitioncommunitiescolor.org.

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CCC News Release: "Rebuilding Community" Report Released

CCC-logo.png

NEWS RELEASE

Contact:
Dani Ledezma, Interim Executive Director  
(503) 381-9990
dani@coalitioncommunitiescolor.org

Limits to No-cause eviction are necessary to reduce displacement of Oregonians of Color.

“ReBuilding Community” report released by the Coalition of Communities of Color and Urban League of Portland recommends passing HB 2004

According to the “ReBuilding Community” report, policymakers can help slow the displacement of communities of color by passing HB 2004, which limits evictions without cause against individuals and families who follow the terms of their leases. Community leaders from the Coalition of Communities of Color and the Urban League of Portland released this report highlighting cross-cultural and community-specific solutions to address our housing crisis.  The report was funded by Meyer Memorial Trust.

Advocates are sharing the report with Oregon lawmakers currently debating HB 2004, so that policymakers can better understand the disproportionate effect that the lack of tenant protections has on communities of color.

“The Urban League and the member organizations of the Coalition of Communities of Color hope that highlighting the experiences of Black Oregonians will motivate lawmakers to do the right thing. After years of watching while our communities were pulled apart, with the help of state and local government investments, this legislature can act to end the unjust practice of no-cause evictions. Without legislative action, no-cause evictions will continue to hurt their constituents and the character of the neighborhoods that we call home,” said Nkenge Harmon Johnson, Chief Executive Officer of the Urban League of Portland.

Today, Oregon’s housing laws allow any property manager or landlord to - at any time - kick people out of their homes without giving a reason. These notorious “no-cause” evictions are traumatizing because they rip children from schools, destroy communities, and displace low-income families, throwing them into crisis, and often causing homelessness.

The “Building Community” report is based on the experiences of many Portlanders from communities of color, advocacy organizations and a series of culturally-specific focus groups held over six months. It provides a vivid narrative of the impact displacement, and gentrification has on communities.

According to the “ReBuilding Community” report, no-cause evictions are today’s example of state-sanctioned practices that displace communities of color. Historic segregation, fueled by redlining, property seizures by local jurisdictions, block busting, racist lending practices, and many other policies have resulted in communities of color living in historically underinvested areas. As neighborhoods become more popular attracting public investments and development, they also gain in value and trigger property managers and landlords to raise rents and use no-cause evictions to reach a higher paying market for their units. Residents are pushed out of their homes and often seek affordable rents miles away from their historic neighborhoods.

Families of color are much less likely to own their homes than white families and have less wealth accumulation according to Pew Research Center.  Now, rental homes are also increasingly out of reach. A report released Thursday by the National Low Income Housing Coalition showed that the fair market rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Oregon jumped 27 percent in the last five years, from $807 in 2012 to $1,028 in 2017. It would take an income of $19.78 an hour to afford the apartment in a state where the median income is $18.26 an hour, and people of color earn half the median income.

“Our members have experienced no-cause evictions used as a tool to discriminate against them. Their landlords wanted to make way for ‘different’ kinds of tenants,” says Katrina Holland, Executive Director of Oregon Community Alliance of Tenants, “Let’s call that what it is: coded language specifically talking about communities of color. It is unacceptable and we refuse to believe that our legislators are okay with that loophole perpetuating systemic racism, prejudice, and oppression. HB 2004 is an essential policy that helps stem the tide of displacement and end the discriminatory practices that cause instability for families and individuals.”

HB 2004 would prohibit no-cause evictions from large landlords and property managers after a nine-month waiting period, giving much needed protections and stability for people who rent their homes. It is currently waiting for a vote in the Oregon Senate.

The impacts of displacement for mothers and children of color are devastating. There are a record number of homeless children in Oregon today. According to school surveys, some 21,352 pre-schoolers and K-12 students experienced homelessness during the 2015-16 school year. “ReBuilding Community,” highlights a survey from the Multnomah County Health Division that surveyed pregnant African American women and their families about how they are being affected by the housing crisis. Twenty-five percent of the women reported having to move or be homeless while pregnant, and 30 percent of the North and Northeast Portland residents had to move out of the area against their will.

“We must take action before leaving Salem. No-cause evictions are unjust, unnecessary, and have a disproportionate effect on communities of color,” said Representative Diego Hernandez, (D-East Portland.) “I see the effects in my district. I hear from my constituents who are left with nowhere to go. Oregon has a record number of homeless children and mothers being forced from their homes with no legal recourse. It's time to pass HB 2004 now.”

Hernandez also says his colleagues in Salem need to hear from communities right now to hear how much support there is for tenant protections. To contact your lawmaker and get involved, go to www.StableHomesOR.org.

To see the full report, go to:http://www.coalitioncommunitiescolor.org/cedresourcepage/rebuildingcommunities

About Coalition of Communities of Color

The Coalition of Communities of Color's mission is to address the socioeconomic disparities, institutional racism, and inequity of services experienced by our families, children and communities; and to organize our communities for collective action resulting in social change to obtain self-determination, wellness, justice and prosperity.

Communities of Color Month of Action for Measure 97

October 14, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Amanda Manjarrez, 505-400-6513, amanda@coalitioncommunitiescolor.org

Communities of Color Month of Action for Measure 97

(Portland, OR) – Communities of color are increasingly engaged in Oregon’s future, with leading cultural organizations mobilizing voters for Yes on Measure 97. With Oregon’s demographics rapidly changing, and more than 1 in 4 Oregonians identifying as persons of color, Measure 97 would reverse decades of public divestment that have perpetuated racial disparities, investing in Oregon’s long-term health and prosperity.

In support of Measure 97, key organizations have announced plans to engage Oregon voters through door knocking, multilingual phone banking and bilingual ballot parties. Groups including the Coalition of Communities of Color, APANO, Causa, Unite Oregon, and the Oregon Latino Health Coalition are scaling up efforts with hundreds of new volunteers to reach 13,000 voters, including those who have been recently registered through Oregon’s New Motor Voter Law.

“We’ve struggled for 25 years as corporate profits have skyrocketed while health disparities persist and our kids don’t graduate on-time,” says Rev. Joseph Santos-Lyons, Executive Director of APANO, adding, “Yes on Measure 97 balances the scales ensuring corporations pay their fair share so our children and Oregon will thrive.”
“Measure 97 will provide Oregon with the ability to make targeted investments in education that will improve outcomes for communities of color,” says Julia Meier, Executive Director of the Coalition of Communities of Color.

“Our groups are fired up and getting out talking to neighbors, family and friends for Yes on 97. After decades of divestment, Measure 97 stabilizes revenue for Oregon and allows us to extend health care access to children and families across Oregon,” says Andrea Williams, Executive Director of Causa.

Measure 97 would raise the minimum tax on corporations, applying a 2.5% tax on Oregon sales over $25 million dollars. Measure 97 is endorsed by over 260 organizations.

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Formed in 2001, the Coalition of Communities of Color (CCC) is an alliance of culturally-specific community based organizations. http://www.coalitioncommunitiescolor.org/. APANO is a statewide advocacy organization, uniting Asian and Pacific Islanders to achieve social justice. http://www.apano.org/. Causa is Oregon’s Latino immigrant rights organization working to defend and advance immigrant rights by coordinating with local, state, and national coalitions and allies. http://causaoregon.org/. Unite Oregon represents the merger of– Center for Intercultural Organizing (CIO) and Oregon Action (OA) – who together have decades of experience organizing immigrants, refugees, people of color, and low-income Oregonians to address racial and economic disparities and improve quality of life in our state. http://www.uniteoregon.org/. The Oregon Latino Health Coalition is a collaboration of individuals and organizations who are dedicated to promoting health and wellness and reducing disparities for the Oregon Latino community through prevention, education and sharing of resources. http://orlhc.org/

Latino Network, Coalition of Communities of Color, and Stand for Children Oregon Unite Behind Initiative Petition 65

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 25, 2016

CONTACT: Kelsey Cardwell

kelsey.cardwell@gmail.com

425-753-0461

@BetterHSNow

Latino Network, Coalition of Communities of Color, and Stand for Children Oregon Unite Behind Initiative Petition 65

Today, the Latino Network of Oregon, the Coalition of Communities of Color, and Stand for Children Oregon announced their lead role as coalition sponsors for Initiative Petition 65 (IP 65). They head up a growing list of supporters like Adelante Mujeres, Benson Tech Foundation and Native American Youth and Family Center campaigning to improve Oregon’s high school graduation rate, and career and college readiness.

As the economy grows, IP 65 will target new money to Oregon’s most pressing problem—the state’s critically low graduation rate. If passed this November, it will directly fund proven high school that will increase student success. It will expand career-technical education (CTE) programs and college-credit courses, and implement proven dropout prevention strategies across Oregon.

“Oregon’s high school graduation rate is one of the lowest in the country, and last year, only 66 percent of kids of color graduated on time, a full 10 points behind white students,” said Julia Meier, executive director of the Coalition of Communities of Color. “It is time to take action to help Oregon’s students, particularly our most vulnerable students, because they cannot afford for us to wait any longer.”

Oregon’s public schools have great kids, dedicated teachers and hardworking staff, but the numbers show that our high schools are ill-equipped to serve our students, especially students of color:

Last year, over 2,500 kids of color dropped out of high school in Oregon, at rates significantly higher than their white peers, according to the Oregon Department of Education.
Only 15 percent of black students, 16 percent of Pacific Islander students, 21 percent of Hispanic students, and 22 percent of American Indian students leave community college with a certificate or degree, according to the Oregon Secretary of State's office.

However, at schools where students have access to career technical education, college-level coursework and dropout prevention programs, students of color fare far better in high school and college. For example, a  report released by the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) found that CTE students are 15.5 percent more likely to graduate high school in four years than students statewide.  Students of color benefit even more. The graduation rates for African American students are 24 percent higher than those of African American students statewide, 21 percent higher for Latino CTE students, and 23 percent higher for Native American CTE students.

“Students of color cannot wait around any longer for adults to do something about Oregon’s disturbing graduation rate,” says Carmen Rubio, executive director of the Latino Network. “This initiative quickly creates opportunities that will support students in succeeding in high school and college. We are proud to call ourselves a coalition partner.”

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