Community-based Research

OPB Article :: Coalition Report Reveals Inequality In Washington County

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Coalition Report Reveals Inequality In Washington County

by Erica Morrison Follow OPB June 18, 2018 5:24 p.m. | Beaverton, Oregon

The Coalition of Communities of Color released their comprehensive report on racial inequities in Washington County on Monday.

“Leading With Race: Research Justice in Washington County” comes after two years of research, and explores the lived experiences of eight communities in Oregon’s most diverse county.

The report focuses on Native American, African-American, African, Asian and Asian-American, Latino, Middle Eastern and North African, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders and Slavic communities in Washington County.

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CCC presented the report to officials and community members at Beaverton Library. Attendees received a 31-page booklet of the study’s executive summary. The summary details the population sizes of the identified communities and addresses key issues that affect them.

The mayors of Hillsboro, Tigard and Beaverton community leaders spoke at the meeting. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, D-Oregon, also delivered remarks.

Bonanmici said Washington County is the “economic engine” of the state and the struggle for equity has been long and is far from over.

The findings of the report prove that to be true.

Researcher Shweta Moorthy found Latino applicants are 125 percent more likely to have their home loan application denied compared to high income whites.

When asked what surprised her the most about her research, Moorthy replied, “How willing people were to get uncomfortable.”

The study confirms many things members of communities of color already know; there are greater disparities when it comes to homeownership, education and interactions with law enforcement.

The report includes an eight-step call to action to improve racial equity in the county.

Moorthy said she hopes the report gets people to realize the expertise of people of color and the need to respect that expertise.

June 2017 Equity Lens :: Research Update

We at the CCC have steadfastly moved towards our mission of racial justice despite the challenges and aggressions of white supremacy and racism exacerbated under the Trump presidency. In 2017, the community-based participatory research project in Washington county has made progress in its efforts to consult with public entities to share and inform equitable data collection practices as well as partner with local nonprofits to share our principles of research justice and raise awareness of online data equity tools. In addition to the Washington county project, CCC's research justice efforts have taken a leadership role in co-founding the Portland United Against Hate Initiative with CCC members, community-based organizations and the City of Portland. 

Washington county research project: The steering committee outlined and proposed a resilience-based understanding of racial equity as well as a shift away from the ‘white savior complex’ of achieving racial equity through policymaking. At its core, the project seeks to understand the lived realities of communities of color, their experience with systemic oppression (both historical and contemporary), and reflect the strengths, resilience, and aspirations of communities of color. This project is rooted in equitable partnership and collaboration with impacted communities. Community leaders are playing an integral role in defining their priorities, articulating their experiences, and identifying strengths that can inform the research but also build the capacity of their community. Our inclusive, community-driven process is invaluable as it informs both the quantitative data analysis and the planned community specific conversations in Washington county over the summer. 

We have also formed partnerships and created initiatives with CCC members and organizations (both public and private) that share our research justice vision of racial equity and will work to implement similar efforts into their practices. In the immediate aftermath of the US presidential elections, the CCC joined a group of community organizations to create a short and long term response to the uptick in hate behavior against communities of color. Through this collaborative partnership, the CCC helped found the Portland United Against Hate (PUAH) initiative. The CCC research justice program leads the data response efforts of PUAH and is working collaboratively with partners to create a hate documentation process that serves an authoritative memory and evidence of racism driven hate in a seemingly progressive city. In addition to PUAH, the CCC is also a stakeholder in the Regional Equity Atlas and leverages that role in advocating for community-driven research agendas and equity driven data.

Aside from starting new projects to progress our racial justice mission, the CCC research program has also worked with public partners to ensure the continuity of past advocacy. So far this year, the CCC has completed their research consultation with West Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District and helped them create culturally appropriate, data collection surveys that assist in determining the extent of racial disparities in their jurisdiction. We have also commenced a consultation with Oregon Health Authority about the Race Ethnicity Language and Accessibility data collection standards, and have begun advising Portland State University (PSU) and Joint Office of Homeless Services on research methods to accurately capture the houselessness experiences of communities of color in Multnomah County. 

April 2016 Equity Lens :: Research Update

Communities of Color in Washington County Research

The Coalition of Communities of Color (CCC) is launching a community-based participatory research project into the lived realities of communities of color in Washington County, Oregon. This is a collaborative project in partnership with CCC members, community-based organizations and local jurisdictions in Washington County. Since the release of our ground-breaking research on Multnomah County in 2010, the CCC has received numerous requests to conduct research in Washington County. The time is ripe to expand the CCC’s research work to document the lived realities of communities of color in Washington County. The county’s demographics are rapidly changing, primarily through increased numbers of communities of color and immigrants and refugees. Racial equity has to be a priority for the county.

This research project has three aims. First, building knowledge about communities of color in Washington County. The project will bring Washington County’s diverse communities into focus and help create awareness for less visible communities of color. Second, develop stronger relationships between communities of color in Washington County and build social capital. The project will support communities of color in Washington County by heightening leadership roles for people of color in the County and will bring additional resources into Washington County by providing the data and research needed for grant proposals and for funders to target their investments. Third, increasing the regional capacity of the CCC to be a resource to Washington County. The project will greatly increase the CCC’s network of relationships with organizations and leaders across the County.

The Washington County research project is both a testament to the CCC’s stature as a leading racial equity advocate using social justice informed research and is an opportunity to broaden the current advocacy lens to improve outcomes for communities of color in Washington County.