The 2019 CCC Legislative Action day is an opportunity to engage with state legislators! Meet, share, and learn about 2019 bills that impact on communities of color.
VOTING FOR RACIAL JUSTICE: CCC’S GUIDE TO NOVEMBER 2018 BALLOT MEASURES
The Coalition of Communities of Color advocates for and against ballot measures to help fulfill our mission to address the disparities, racism, and inequity of services experienced by communities of color, and to seek social change so we can obtain self-determination, justice and prosperity. To further that mission, we take positions and advocate for ballot measures that will move us toward this vision, and oppose those which will harm our communities.
This November’s ballot measures give Oregonians many choices on whether we will fulfill this vision--or move backwards. Environmental justice and affordable housing measures represent a step toward building a more equitable future, while flawed constitutional amendments will make it more difficult to address the disparities we experience. Most dangerously, measures designed to attack immigrants and limit reproductive justice will seriously harm our communities. In November, Oregonians will be able to make a choice to stop these threats and actually build a better future for communities of color.
To learn more about the 2018 CCC Voter Guide, please click on the link below!
The short legislative session is in the home stretch, and we are continuing to push forward on our 2018 legislative agenda!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Housing and Health
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.
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
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.
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.
Coalition of Communities of Color Legislative Action Day, February 8
Join advocates for racial justice from around the state at the Coalition of Communities of Color Legislative Action Day on Thursday, February 8, in Salem, Oregon. Advocates will be coming together to meet with legislators to talk about a racial equity agenda for the 2018 legislative session.
During the Legislative Action Day, you will:
- Hear from legislators leading on advocacy for communities of color
- Meet with legislators to share your story and talk about issues that are important to you
- Learn more about bills with an impact on communities of color
If you're new to legislative advocacy, this is a great way to get experience meeting with legislators. We will provide you with all the training and information you need. For experienced advocates, this is an opportunity to come together and show that policymakers must prioritize racial equity during this legislative session. The event is free and lunch will be provided.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 18, 2018
Jenny Lee, Advocacy Director
Coalition of Communities of Color
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:
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Latino Network is hosting Community Forums to provide resources and information to individuals and families affected by the Trump administration’s decision to repeal DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). Legal experts will be available to answer general questions.
ES. Latino Network esta preparando una serie de foros comunitarios para proveer recursos e informacion para individu@s y sus familiares afectados por la decision de la administracion de Trump para revocar al programa de DACA. Expertos legales estaran disponibles para contestar preguntas generales
The 2016 elections and federal level rollbacks on pro-people of color and pro-climate policies have only heightened the important role of states, cities, organizations, and communities in leading racial, environmental, and climate justice efforts.
Redefine: CCC's Initiative for Environmental and Climate Justice and the Climate Justice Collaborative focus on building leadership and capacity within communities of color and driving racially just environmental and climate solutions at the state and local level. Moreover, the CCC is focused on building strong coalitions and understands the intersections of issues and movements. We have offered just a snapshot of our efforts below. These priorities will make our communities more resilient, address climate change and work to eliminate racial disparities.
Climate and Energy Justice
On June 1st President Trump began the process of pulling out the United States from the Paris Climate Accords, increasing the disastrous effects of pollution and climate change on our communities and slowing the transition to an equitable, clean energy economy. However, on the same day, Multnomah County and the City of Portland became the first communities in the Pacific Northwest to commit to being powered by 100% renewable energy by 2050.
We know communities of color, low-income communities, Native American tribes, and immigrants and refugees are hit first and worst by climate change and the pollution that drives it. We also know we must shift our exploitive economy (profit-driven, growth-dependent, and industrial) to one that is regenerative (sustainable, equitable and just for all its members)—and our communities must be at the center of fighting the bad and building the new. A Just Transition must:
- Shift economic control to communities
- Democratize wealth and the workplace
- Advance ecological restoration
- Relocalize most production and consumption
- Retain and restore cultures and traditions
- Drive racial justice and social equity
Read more about the regenerative economy and Just Transition framework through Movement Generation.That is why Verde, the CCC, and partners like OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon, Community Action Partnership of Oregon (CAPO), and Northwest Sustainable Energy and Economic Development (NWSEED) pushed and secured provisions in the 100% Renewable Resolutions that prioritized:
- Holding low-income ratepayers harmless during this energy transition, which is fundamental to ensuring that access to the financial and environmental benefits of energy efficiency and renewable energy is shared equitably across all economic classes.
- Requiring clear commitments to community-based development and ownership of renewable energy infrastructure, which people of color and low-income people can use to meet their priorities. The City and County are required to support capacity building of organizations to realize these goals.
What does this mean? This means our communities can define our energy and economic future, by envisioning, planning, and developing an economy, energy savings, and benefits that serve local community needs. Much of today’s energy policy rewards those with economic means to maintain a low-carbon lifestyle rather than reducing financial, technology, and ownership barriers for communities already leading and innovating—communities of color, low-income communities, and tribes. Climate justice means not only shifting from exploitive fossil-fuel based sources of energy, but also dismantling corporate control of energy sources and transitioning to democratic, community-based control.
Learn more about energy democracy and community-based energy:
- Toward a Climate Justice Energy Platform: Democratizing Our Energy Future
- Energy Democracy For All: What is Energy Democracy
- NAACP Just Energy Policies Report
A big thank you to Multnomah County (Chair Kafoury, Commissioner Vega Pederson, County Commission, and Office of Sustainability) and the City of Portland (Mayor Wheeler, City Council, and Bureau of Planning and Sustainability) for supporting this vision.
Housing Justice, Rent Stabilization, and Climate Resilience
The CCC released a report “Building Community: A Disparate Impacts Analysis and Cross-Cultural Agenda to Prevent Displacement and Gentrification” written by the CCC and Urban League of Portland and funded by Meyer Memorial Trust. The “Rebuilding Community” brief is based on the experiences of many of 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 of barriers to people finding a stable home. The report recommends policymakers can help slow the displacement of communities of color by passing legislation like HB 2004A, which limits evictions without cause against individuals and families who follow the terms of their leases.
Housing Stability and Anti-Displacement: What does environmental and climate justice have to do with it?
Investments in environmental and climate justice strategies do not work if they do not include investments in housing stability and affordability. Lack of affordable, safe and energy efficient housing leads to heightened displacement, worsening existing environmental injustices such as communities located near high traffic and pollution corridors; increased distances to healthy foods, jobs and community centers; less ability to afford energy or water costs due to increased transportation costs; and less access to public transit and walkable neighborhoods.
Displacement of our communities to the outskirts of cities directly contributes to climate pollution due to increased travel distance, prevents equitable access to new climate resilient infrastructure and environmental benefits, and decreases economic stability. People experiencing homelessness are overexposed to environmental hazards such as pollutants, extreme weather, and incomplete pedestrian infrastructure—clear environmental injustices. Moreover, increasing climate impacts in other parts of the country are making the Portland metro region a more attractive place to live in. Of course, climate change is just one factor among many that influence people to move, but as climate change heats up, many have theorized that migration to the Portland and the Pacific Northwest will accelerate, which will make housing even more expensive.
Combating displacement through strategies like equitable development, affordable housing, local minority contracting and construction, and energy savings is a climate, economic and community resilience strategy. We recognize that climate solutions can stabilize neighborhoods and communities and help alleviate poverty.
For more legislative updates see REDEFINE’s most recent newsletter here.
The Coalition of Communities of Color (CCC) endorsed a bold agenda to advance racial equity in the 2017 Legislative Session. Each bill prioritized by our members aims to address socioeconomic disparities, institutional racism and inequity in services affecting our communities. The Oregon Legislature has come a long way toward addressing racial disparities and creating more opportunities for all. In 2016, we also saw a record number of leaders of color elected by Oregonians to represent our communities in Salem. These are signs of progress. But, we still have a long way to go to overcome Oregon’s difficult history with racial inequality and exclusion.
On March 1st, over 150 advocates from communities of color met at the state capitol in Salem for CCC’s Legislative Advocacy Day. The day was an opportunity for community members to meet with their legislators to advocate for more affordable housing and tenant protections, greater investments in education, health care, protecting civil rights, and expanding economic and environmental justice. Many visited the legislature for the first time. Throughout the session, CCC members have also had the opportunity to testify in front of legislative committees on issues benefit our communities, like a bill to develop ethnic studies standards or creating a fund to invest in culturally-specific early learning. To advance racial justice for the long term, it’s imperative that we continue to work toward elevating the voices of communities of color in policy-making.
This year, the CCC is also leading the 2017 Legislative Report on Racial Equity. The 2017 report released this fall will be the fourth edition of the facing race series. It is a project of nine nonpartisan, community-based organizations dedicated to advancing racial equity through legislative advocacy. Our hope is that this report will encourage legislators to continue to engage with communities of color early and often. To be included in the report, a bill must be identified as a priority by communities of color and be explicit about addressing race, reduce or remove institutional barriers that lead to poor outcomes in communities of color, or protect against racial discrimination and violence. The following legislation was nominated for this year’s report.
- HB 2004: Prohibits landlord from terminating a tenancy without cause.
- HB 2845: Requires the Oregon Department of Education to develop statewide ethnic studies standards.
- HB 2864: Requires higher ed. institutions to provide ongoing culturally competency opportunities, create standards, and provide bi-annual reports on progress.
- HB 3066: Creates an early childhood equity fund to invest in culturally-specific early learning services.
- HB 2355: Provides a system to record and track data from officer-initiated pedestrian and traffic stops; mandates training; and reduces penalties for possessing a small amount of drugs.
- HB 3078: Improves safety and creates savings for the state by fixing the family sentencing alternative, reducing presumptive sentencing, removing mandatory minimums and reinvesting savings into supervision and treatment.
- HB 2232: Provides coverage for the full range of reproductive health services with zero out-of-pocket costs.
This session, we’ve seen significant progress on many of our priorities. The bills that require funding are just starting to be heard in the Ways and Means committee, while bills like HB 2004 and HB 2864 are on their way to the Senate floor for a final vote. With the 2017 Legislative Session wrapping up in July, our hope is that the legislature will take meaningful steps toward advancing racial justice and investing in Oregon’s future.
This year, the Coalition of Communities of Color (CCC) hired an Advocacy Director to increase our ability to impact change locally and in the upcoming legislative session. That change started with the 2016 election. In the 2016 election cycle, the CCC:
- Endorsed five ballot measures aimed at improving the lives of people of color in Oregon.
- Produced a 2016 voter issue guide to help inform voters of key ballot measures that impact communities of color.
- Collaborated with each campaign to turn out volunteers, organize canvasses in communities of color, get the word out in the media, and provide guidance on campaign strategy.
While we know the result of the national election will create new challenges, locally we were successful on 4 out of 5 CCC ballot initiative priorities. These local victories will give more families access to safe, affordable homes, improve our schools, and protect our natural areas. Also, we saw new levels of engagement in communities of color that will set the stage for future success on the ballot.
Even during elections, we know that our work on other issues impacting communities of color does not stop. Since the passage of HB 3499 (English Language Learners programs), the CCC has worked diligently with our allies to develop rules for the new law that will lead to better implementation and ultimately outcomes for English Language Learners (ELL). This week, the State Board of Education adopted many of our proposed rules thanks to the incredible advocacy of our allies in the ELL Advisory Workgroup.
Earlier this month, the Portland City Council passed the Open & Accountable Elections Act, which will enact a new public campaign financing program that matches low dollar donations given to candidates. The CCC and our member organizations helped lead the way to pass this important reform, working with a local coalition of over 30 organizations. Check out this op-ed written by Julia Meier and Joseph Santos-Lyons to learn more about how it impacts communities of color.
This new law will create more opportunities for diverse representation in Portland city government. The program empowers candidates to run for office without taking big campaign contributions. Instead, candidates can run with small-dollar contributions from local city residents that will be matched 6-to-1 by the city. In a city where only 7 women, 2 people of color, and 2 people from the outer east side have ever been elected to city office, and at a time when big special interest money is dominating our elections - this is huge victory for our communities.
As the CCC prepares to announce our 2017 legislative endorsements, we will continue to work hard to engage the community and create opportunities to advance racial equity in Oregon.
End of Year Wrap Up
The Coalition of Communities of Color (CCC) and our members continue to work with communities of color, tribal governments, environmental, public health and labor partners across the state to develop a strong front and climate justice policies focused on real greenhouse gas emissions, jobs, and equity. These policies must support a cohesive racial justice agenda for the State of Oregon and the City of Portland.
To achieve our agenda, REDEFINE, the CCC's Initiative for Climate and Environmental Justice, has worked collaboratively with partners to build capacity in member organizations as well as provided education and engagement opportunities focused on environmental and climate justice.
The development of a curriculum workgroup and series of cross-cultural workshops has helped communities of color better understand public policy and to develop their personal narratives as a tool for their climate justice advocacy.
Our first climate justice workshop focused on: 1) understanding the root causes and impacts of climate change on a personal, local and global level, 2) identifying solutions, and 3) connecting attendees to opportunities to take action. Our second workshop for organizations and communities of color will be held on Wednesday, December 21, at 5:30 pm (REGISTER HERE) and will be focused on how 2017 climate justice policies (e.g. capping pollution/investing in communities, housing, and transportation) can support a larger racial justice agenda and respond to community needs. Upon completion of our two-part workshop series on climate justice, we will adapt these for other organizations of color. In 2017 we will build on this foundation through a series on green infrastructure funded by the East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District. Please contact Maggie@communitiesofcolor.org to host or attend a workshop.
Finally, we continue to seek resources from local and national funders to support communities of color to act and lead on environmental and climate justice solutions. Meyer Memorial Trust (MMT) recently awarded grants to CCC members – Africa House, Portland African American Leadership Forum (PAALF) and VOZ Workers’ Rights Education Project through MMT’s Healthy Environment Portfolio. The grants will support capacity building, strategic planning, and curriculum development around environmental and climate justice.