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Advocacy Update :: Just over a week to go! CCC legislative session update

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The short legislative session is in the home stretch, and we are continuing to push forward on our 2018 legislative agenda!


Education

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.

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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.


Strengthening 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. 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.

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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.


Environmental Justice

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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.


The impact of legalized housing discrimination continues today, as families of color face barriers to home ownership and are the hardest hit by rising rental housing costs and displacement.
— Jenny Lee, Advocacy Director, Quoted in the Mail Tribune

Housing and Health

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

 

June 2017 Equity Lens :: Bridges Update

Bridges Alumni Provide Metro Input on their Equity Plan

Bridges Alumni participating in focus group discussions with Metro & Momentum Alliance.

Bridges Alumni participating in focus group discussions with Metro & Momentum Alliance.

This spring and summer, Metro has partnered with the Momentum Alliance, the CCC and our Bridges Alumni to help Metro better understand community priorities as they relate to the new 5-year equity strategy Metro has developed. This community summit focused on setting priorities for 4 of their prominent departments; Parks and Nature, Oregon Zoo, Property and Environmental Services, and Planning. This spring we had 36 participants from the tri-county region comprised of alumni representing all of our culturally specific Bridges Leadership Development Initiative programs. Participants will return in September to review the qualitative data collected by the CCC and Metro for a second round review. Final recommendations on community priorities will be finalized this October. 


Remembering: Vanport 69th Anniversary

The great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us, are unconsciously controlled by it..history is literally present in all that we do.
— James Baldwin
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  Source: City of Portland Archives

Source: City of Portland Archives

This past month, May 30th, 2017 marked the 69th anniversary of the Vanport flood. CCC wants to take a moment to remember this tragedy as it provides all of us with a critical lens into Oregon’s history surrounding race and class. This tragedy also gives us context for the importance of using a racial equity lens when we think about issues surrounding, housing, employment, healthcare, and more. Because we understand our history and how we are unconsciously controlled by it, CCC and our members are committed to reshaping our future. Click here to access our resource, ReBuilding Community, developed by the CCC, Redefine, and Urban League of Portland. This report provides a disparate impacts analysis and cross-cultural agenda to prevent displacement and gentrification. 


Have you joined the Bridges Online Directory?

 

Are you alumni from one of our Bridges Leadership Initiatives? Make sure to create a profile on our Bridges Online Directory so we can stay in touch about more paid civic engagement opportunities like these.  

 

CCC News Release: "Rebuilding Community" Report Released

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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.