Welcome to the October 2018 edition of the Equity Lens! This edition is jam packed with information, profiles of our newest board members, and we get an update on Marcus Mundy’s first 100 days as the CCC Executive Director.
HERE'S A QUICK OVERVIEW OF THIS EDITION OF THE EQUITY LENS:
Invisibility, Hyper-Visibility, Progress and Action at the Coalition of Communities of Color
Double Consciousness is a term coined by the sociologist and historian W. E. B. Du Bois to describe an individual whose identity is divided into several facets.
In his 1903 book , “The Souls of Black Folk”, Du Bois describes “double consciousness” as follows: “It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his two-ness, an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder. The history of the American Negro is the history of this strife- this longing to attain self-conscious manhood, to merge his double self into a better and truer self. In this merging he wishes neither of the older selves to be lost. He does not wish to Africanize America, for America has too much to teach the world and Africa. He wouldn’t bleach his Negro blood in a flood of white Americanism, for he knows that Negro blood has a message for the world. He simply wishes to make it possible for a man to be both a Negro and an American without being cursed and spit upon by his fellows, without having the doors of opportunity closed roughly in his face”.
Though Du Bois wrote those words over 100 years ago, they resonate still.
If you replace the word “Negro” with “people of color” in his writings, you will have encapsulated what is faced by the communities of color in Oregon, underscored in our groundbreaking report, “Leading with Race: Research Justice in Washington County”, where many participants in our community groups noted that they were, because of their darker skin or immigrant status or language, simultaneously hyper-visible and invisible to the dominant culture in that county, and relegated for both reasons to marginalized roles. This “two-ness” is part of our daily routine, and part of our daily challenge.
I recently marked my 100thday at the Coalition of Communities of Color (CCC) as its third Executive Director (ED), following its founding ED, the estimable Julia Meier, and its interim ED, the indefatigable Dani Ledezma.
Following two such leaders has been both daunting and exciting, but the welcome, the work and the whirlwind of support I have received has been nothing short of invigorating, and I look forward to the next 100 days, and succeeding months, with great anticipation.
My most pleasant elucidation was the discovery of how brilliant and competent the staff of the CCC is. Although we are involved in virtually every issue surrounding Research Justice, Advocacy, Leadership Development or Environmental Justice in our region, particularly those issues viewed with an Equity Lens, we continue to be high impact with never more than 6 members on the team, which is a testament to the power of collaboration, the true spirit of Ujima.
We have but a handful of dogged staff, yet our accomplishments, even just since June, speak for themselves:
CCC held its annual soiree, and announced our incredible report, “Leading with Race: Research Justice in Washington County”;
CCC has convened no less than 20 follow-on participatory sessions sharing the findings of this report, and expanding knowledge within our region, to government bodies, nonprofits and for profits;
Have helped to guide and form the CCC’s and its members’ positions on the many and complex measures on the November 6 ballot (see our Voting Guide at our website, www.coalitioncommunitiescolor.org, AND VOTE!)
Spearheaded the signature drive to qualify Measure 26-201 (the Portland Clean Energy Initiative) on the City of Portland Ballot for November 6, and got it on the ballot, which could mean upwards of $30M for low income communities, job training, weatherization, and clean energy initiatives going forward;
Explained the benefits and nuances of Measure 26-201, and dispassionately and clearly defended its wisdom, at the City Club of Portland’s most recent Friday Forum
Have co-sponsored the introduction of incredible, nationally renowned speakers to support our issues of Equity, Environmental Justice and Advocacy (Van Jones and DeRay McKesson);
Have kicked off trainings for our first “Research Justice Fellowship”, in Washington County, to develop community leadership in data and research;
Have met with innumerable city, county, state and federal leaders to continue to press the agendas important to communities of color in Oregon;
Have added three amazing new Board Members to our leadership: Tony DeFalco, Executive Director of Verde, Chi Nguyen, Executive Director of APANO, and Tony Hopson, President and CEO of Self Enhancement Inc.;
Have strengthened CCC team through the addition of our new Executive Assistant and Operations Manager, Joliana Scipio;
Completed the administrative paperwork so that we can officially constitute our 501 (c)(4) entity, and provide even more focused advocacy work for the issues that matter to communities of color;
Received the prestigious International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) Cascade Chapter Award for Best Practices, for our “Leading with Race: Research Justice in Washington County” report;
In conjunction with EcoTrust, Futurewise, and 1000 Friends of Oregon, have begun the re-launch of the Regional Equity Atlas, the third iteration of this seminal report identifying those areas of excellence, and those in need of improvement, for communities of color in our region, by using real, current data viewed through our ubiquitous research justice lens;
Have begun to expand the capabilities of our 6 distinct Leadership Development cohorts’ database to enhance access and opportunities to alumni and cohort members for placement on a sundry of committees, advisory boards and commissions to assist in their professional development; continue to place leaders on boards and commissions, including recent appointments at Metro and the Port of Portland; plans are also underway for assistance with professional job placements and quarterly convenings;
Organized, sponsored and led (with a large coalition of partners such as Verde, OPAL, APANO, Environmental Justice Oregon, Multnomah County and the City of Portland) the CCC’s 3 day Community Energy Justice Summitat PCC Southeast, where we convened almost 100 community, government, nonprofit and for profit individuals to build a collectivce understanding of energy development fundamentals and energy democracy;
Quite frankly, the list goes on and on. You should rest assured that the staff of the Coalition of Communities of Color is working hard for the interests of our 19 member organizations, and communities of color writ large, and for you.
As Gabriel Garcia Marquez once said, the dominant culture “insist on measuring us with the yardstick that they use for themselves, forgetting that the ravages of life are not the same for all, and that the quest for our own identity is just as arduous and bloody for us as it was for them."
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.
I am proud and honored to be part of that ongoing, unwavering mission, and hope that all who read our Equity Newsletter join us in these efforts.
Meet Our New Board Members
I have been excited about the Coalition since 2008 when I first heard about and was immediately supportive of the vision of our communities coming together in common cause. It’s an honor and privilege to be able to serve all the communities the Coalition represents in this capacity. I am very excited about the good work that has gone into the development of the REDEFINE program, as we truly are at a critical juncture in addressing climate change and other environmental challenges that disproportionately impact our communities. We are now poised to be able to not only take the lead in addressing these challenges but address them in ways that have disproportionate benefit to our communities.
I’m excited to be joining leaders across the area that have historically and continue to do great work defending equity for marginalized communities. I very much believe in communities organizing to have voices be heard and advocate for their fairness and prosperity. I feel deeply connected to this work. An anecdotal example I like to highlight on this work is: on my seventh day of becoming APANO's Interim Executive Director, I was dealt a humanitarian crisis when the federal administration separated families and transferred detained persons to FCI Sheridan. I could have been on the other side of that fence. Like those detained folks, I came to the United States from Vietnam as a political refugee seeking asylum. Oregon offered my family and me the beacon of hope. I want to join others in the fight to keep Oregon a special place that is welcoming for all of us.
As one of the original founders of the Coalition of Communities of Color, I look forward to re-engaging with the Board and the work of the CCC. The CCC has been the most consistent organization in advancing the issues that have impact people of color. We are presently in a real fight locally and nationally around equality and what we consider to be, fair and just opportunities for all citizens. The CCC provides a voice that can safely speak too many of these issues.
Voters’ Guide and Get Out the Vote!
Ballots are out and now is the most critical time to get informed about measures and step up to volunteer! The ballot initiative process creates some of the most significant opportunities to help or harm our communities, and we urge anyone who cares about racial equity to get engaged and talk to voters about these critical measures.. Learn more with our voters’ guide here.
Ballots are due November 6 by 8:00 PM. Locate your nearest drop box here.
CCC 2018 Ballot Measure Positions
Yes on Measure 102: This measure would allow local governments to partner with nongovernmental entities to build affordable housing with local bond dollars. This would increase the opportunities for nonprofit developers—including culturally-specific community development corporations—to build affordable homes. Learn more and sign up to volunteer.
No on Measure 103: This unnecessary and overly vague constitutional amendment bans all taxes on food and limits local governments’ hands to find local revenue solutions. This poorly written measure is overly broad, and does not belong in Oregon’s constitution. Learn more.
No on Measure 104: This measure puts our state at risk of legislative gridlock and will make it difficult to close corporate tax loopholes or make even minor adjustments to tax credits and fees. Raising sufficient revenue is a perpetual problem for our state, and this measure will only make it worse. Learn more.
No on Measure 105: Supported by state and national hate groups, this anti-immigrant measure directly targets communities of color, putting them at increased risk of racial profiling. At a time when anti-immigrant sentiment is increasing, Oregonians must take a stand for basic fairness and racial justice by defeating this measure. Learn more and sign up to volunteer.
No on Measure 106: All people who can become pregnant should have meaningful access to the full range of reproductive health care, including abortion. By banning public funds for virtually all abortions, this constitutional amendment would deeply harm communities of color. Learn more. CCC will be co-hosting a joint No on 105 and 106 canvass centered on communities of color with Forward Together, APANO, and Latino Network on Saturday, October 27. RSVP here. You can sign up for other volunteer opportunities here.
Yes on Measure 26-201, the Portland Clean Energy Initiative: Over two years in the making, this is the first environmental initiative in Oregon to be developed and led by organizations of color. It will create $30 million in new revenue to create good jobs, healthier homes, and renewable energy for Portlanders, with an emphasis on communities of color. Learn more and sign up to volunteer.
Yes on Measure 26-199, the Metro housing bond: This regional bond will create homes for thousands of families, with a focus on serving those who are at greatest risk of housing stability. In particular, one of the of the greatest needs for families of color are multi-bedroom units, and this measure will substantially increase the number of family-sized units in the region. Learn more and volunteer.
Van Jones & Portland Clean Energy Initiative
CCC Partners with Senior Advocates for Generational Equity to Host a Public Address by Change Agent Van Jones
On September 12, the Coalition was honored to co-title sponsor a public lecture by Van Jones, a world-renowned author, CNN host, and thought leader for social and environmental justice. Jones, who recently published Beyond the Messy Truth: How we came apart, how we come together, spoke to a crowd of over 600 people on the political divisions that are tearing us apart and destroying our families, our communities, and ourselves. His lecture was an impassioned and personal invitation for all of us to recognize that “breakdowns can become breakthroughs if you use them right”.
Jones wasted no time prioritizing the work of the Coalition, our members and partners on the Portland Clean Energy Initiative (PCEI), ballot measure 26-105 and immediately pronounced that “this ballot measure to get 30 Million dollars for green jobs is the most important ballot measure in the country right now”!
He followed by opening up with his personal story about how he found his way through a moment of suffering in his life, suffering brought about due to vitriolic dishonest crusade to get him out of the White House, and came to find self-love and respect to find common ground with the very people who sought to oust him from Obama’s administration. Jones called upon us to examine our actions and experiences when he stated that “the lack of honesty about what we’re going through is allowing a lot of suffering to continue; a lot of dysfunction in our movements.”
He further advised that “we cannot afford to become what we are fighting...fight with love” and suggested moving through fear, anger, and hate to further transformational social change is paramount to the resistance of our opposition. Jones also invited us to practice empathy, imagine what motivates those who disagree with and fight us and find points of connection. Van Jones concluded his lecture by paraphrasing a quote from U.S. President Robert F. Kennedy, who said that standing up to your enemies is not what determines one’s moral courage, it is standing up to your friends when they are wrong.
This thrilling opportunity to co-host this public address also gave us a chance to work with new partners, Seniors for Generational Equity (SAGE), and event organizers Social Enterprise and Prisma Point. It also meant we and our members who work on the Portland Clean Energy Initiative campaign were able to connect with Van Jones and work with him to amplify the importance of this ballot measure. If you missed the address, you can listen to it in its entirety on KBOO. For more thoughtful conversation and collaborative solutionsinspired by Van’s public address and recent book, join CCC & SAGE on October 30th, from 7 PM to 9 PM at the Joinery (922 SW Yamhill St, Portland). You don’t need to have attended the talk or read the whole book to have a meaningful discussion about the current divides facing our communities and political institutions. Desserts and beverages will be served, and this event is free!
Research Justice Update
PORTLAND UNITED AGAINST HATE
As a member of Portland United Against Hate, we are piloting a system to document hate/bias incidents in the city. If you believe you have experienced or witnessed or heard about a hate/bias incident you can report it to Portland United Against Hate by contacting our Researcher, Shweta Moorthy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is PUAH?
Portland United Against Hate (PUAH) is a community initiated partnership of community based organizations, neighborhood associations, concerned communities and the City of Portland.
Together, we are building a rapid response system that combines reporting and tracking of hateful acts and providing the support and protection our communities.
Why is this important?
The very communities most likely to be targets of hate violence are also the least likely to report their experiences to law enforcement. Undercounting of hate crimes can therefore create the impression that all is well.
What are ‘hate incidents’ that can be reported using the tool:
Concerned communities define and experience hate as any incident that targets an individual/group based on their age, color, religion, disability (physical or mental), race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation and so on. That can be intolerance, discrimination, hostility, harassment, hate, mistreatment, prejudice, bigotry, injustice, favoritism, homophobia, xenophobia, racism, tendency, ageism, privilege, marginalization, retaliation, bullying, incivility, stereotyping, and microaggressions. The perpetrator of the incident can be an individual, organization, government agency etc.
Examples of incidents include:
A person is verbally harassed for being presumed to be from another country.
A poster is displayed that singles out a racial or ethnic group to intimidate.
A teacher intentionally ridicules a person for the pronouns that person uses.
A wall is defaced with anti-Semitic messaging.
What will happen with this information?
The respondent’s personal information will be kept confidential and will not be shared with law enforcement or anyone other than the data analysts from the non-profit running the website. Only the owner of the website, Coalition of Communities of Color, will have access to this information.
The CCC will work with Portland United Against Hate to offer an analysis of hate incidents in Portland and use this data to raise awareness; advocate for legislation around hate violence, for policies that dismantle racism and white supremacy the targets the roots of hate, gang prevention, mental health, policing alternatives, to change practices such as schools, mental health services, law enforcement.