Policy Analysis+Advocacy

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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Hurricane Katrina: Remember and Act for Climate and Racial Justice

Saturday, August 29th will mark ten years since Hurricane Katrina. Its devastation highlights painful histories and issues of racial injustice and inequity in this country—policies, planning and investment that are not entirely unique to New Orleans. 

Katrina also shone a bright light on segregation, disparities in physical and economic mobility, as well as inequitable emergency response and climate policies. And, it showed us how a natural disaster can increase gentrification and displacement.  

We know that climate change makes things worse for low-income communities of color, that it exacerbates existing inequities and reinforces systemic racism.  In the case of New Orleans, not only were low-income communities of color the hardest hit, but inequitable planning and investment dramatically changed the demographics of the City.  Both African Americans and Whites left New Orleans, but many fewer African Americans had the resources to return.  There are nearly 100,000 fewer African Americans in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina—an exodus of 8%.  The share of whites, on the other hand, increased from 26.6% to 31%.[1]   Not only has this exodus clearly contributed to family and community instability, but also has had impacts on the City’s cultural diversity, political representation, and economic opportunities.

Portland’s communities, too, experiencing clear disparities in economic wealth and public investment, are susceptible to impacts of climate change including droughts, floods, and forest fires.  Slower but real emergencies—lack of affordable housing, poor access to healthy or culturally significant foods, or increased exposure to dangerous air quality and toxins—will only accelerate with climate inaction and business and planning as usual.

It is vital we push for change now, because of climate change, because more powerful storms are predicted, and because the painful effects of Katrina are still alive.  We must act on climate, push for equitable investment, and design policies and planning around those most impacted—low-income communities of color. 

Featured in Street Roots: http://news.streetroots.org/2015/08/29/hurricane-katrina-remembering-and-acting-climate-and-racial-justice

[1] Shrinath, N., Mack V. & Plyer A. (2014).  Who Lives in New Orleans and Metro Parishes Now? Data Center Research? Louisiana: The Data Center. http://www.datacenterresearch.org/data-resources/who-lives-in-new-orleans-now/

July 2015 Equity Lens: Education Justice Update

HB3499 Signed Into Law!

Governor Kate Brown signing into law HB3499 with students and members from communities of color.  (Photo: Gordon Friedman / STATESMAN JOURNAL)

Governor Kate Brown signing into law HB3499 with students and members from communities of color. (Photo: Gordon Friedman / STATESMAN JOURNAL)

This legislative session, Governor Kate Brown signed into law HB 3499, a comprehensive approach to improve outcomes for Oregon’s English Language Learners (ELL) by increasing transparency, accountability, and systemic supports for schools, educators, and students. Currently, only 49% of ELL students graduate from high school and for many years, communities of color throughout the state have struggled with these detrimental educational outcomes. Leaders from communities of color knew we could do better, and with HB3499, our communities have the ability to turn this crisis into an opportunity for students throughout Oregon. HB3499 will ensure that ELL resources are focused on delivering quality ELL programming to our most vulnerable students and resetting the status quo of using these critical resources to fill shortfalls in school budgets.

The CCC, our members, and our community partners were instrumental in all leading facets of this groundbreaking legislation – from research on best practices for ELL students, to compiling statewide data on ELL outcomes, to drafting the bill, and to building a broad base of support with communities of color throughout the state. The CCC appreciates the leadership of Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO); Center for Inter-Cultural Organizing (CIO); as well as our advocacy our partners at Stand for Children and Northwest Health Foundation.

“With out the advocacy and united voice of leaders from a the Coalition of Communities of Color and Stand for Children this groundbreaking law would never have been passed.” - Nichole Maher, President and CEO of Northwest Health Foundation

In addition to community leadership on HB3499, the Department of Education and the Governor’s Office provided leadership in convening all stakeholders to have facilitated dialogue about the impact of this legislation leading up to the session.

HB3499, which was sponsored and championed by Representative Joe Gallegos, passed with unanimous support from both the house and the senate. If you have any questions or need any more information, please feel free to contact the CCC.

July 2015 Equity Lens: Community and Economic Development Update

Bullitt Foundation Site Visit to Cully Park

Bullitt Foundation Site Visit to Cully Park

We’ve ended the 2015 legislative session, we’re midway into the summer, and CCC’s Community Economic Development Program (CED) is heating up!

Already, CCC completed a CED environmental education series, which provides an opportunity to set a CCC wide vision of the environment, displacement and gentrification.

In addition to ongoing organizational and coalition work, we are continuing efforts on a collective agenda to address displacement and gentrification, uplifting the voices of those most impacted by gentrification and displacement and respecting our culturally-specific histories, experiences and approaches.

Members are scaling existing community engagement processes, environmental initiatives, and climate justice work to a regional and statewide level. 

We have joined Renew Oregon, a statewide campaign to pass climate policy, advocating for legislation that will (1) drive significant carbon and pollution emissions reductions, (2) mitigate the negative impact of climate change and climate policies on communities of color, and (3) provide opportunities and reinvestment for communities of color.

Finally, CCC members, NAYA and OPAL are completing robust climate resiliency planning to ensure our communities are prepared for the impact of climate change on intersecting priorities such as meaningful participatory planning, transportation, housing, public health, and economic opportunity.  Look at CCC and collaborative work on climate action here.

A WRAP UP ON SOME RELEVANT LEGISLATION:

  • HB 3470 The Climate and Justice Stability Act moved much further than expected—through public hearings, out of Rules and into Ways and Means.
  • With incredible support HB 2564 Inclusionary Zoning passed through the House and into the Senate, but Senate leadership opted against a final vote on the bill.

CCC PRIORITY BILLS:

  • SB 214: Age 3 to Grade 3 - In Senate Committee on Ways and Means upon adjournment
  • SB 553 A / SB 554 A: Disproportionate Discipline - Signed into law
  • HB 3499 B: English Language Learners - Signed into Law
  • HB 3025 B: Ban the Box - Signed into Law
  • HB 2002:  End Racial Profiling - Signed into Law

Please contact Maggie Tallmadge, Environmental Justice Manager, at maggie@coalitioncommunitiescolor.org with any with related initiatives, efforts and events!