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Realizing Equity. Enhancing the City of Portland.

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NEWS RELEASE: Black Male Achievement Portland youths hold community event to address Measure 11 minimum sentencing law

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 17, 2016

PORTLAND –Black Male Achievement (BMA) Portland Summer Youth Experience attendees will host a community event to address racial and ethnic disparities as a result of Oregon’s Measure 11 mandatory minimum sentencing law. The “Rise Above: Measure 11 Reform Community Event” will take place on Saturday, August 20, from Noon to 3:00 p.m. at Woodlawn Park (NE 13th Ave and Dekum St.). Food will be served.

BMA’s Summer Youth Experience (SYE) provides a culturally-specific emotional and social intelligence curriculum to provide a supportive base for young Black male participants. Secondly, the program sets out to support young Black men in summer jobs through professional mentoring, on-the-job problem-solving, access to BMA professional networks, strengths-based relationship building, supportive leadership opportunities, and more.

BMA Portland is a collective of over 20 regional organizations represented by Black men that acts as convener, facilitator, policy guide, and collective voice to exert influence and push for change for the betterment of Black men and boys.

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Shared City-wide Definitions of Racial Equity Terms

Graphic of Title

Using shared definitions of key terms in the City’s racial equity work provides clarity and consistency across all bureaus, which leads to better analysis of how institutional racism functions and is maintained. We can then be more effective in deconstructing these mechanisms that support institutional racism and begin constructing ones that produce equitable outcomes.

These terms should be used when operationalizing the Citywide Racial Equity Goals and Strategies through the use of the Budget Equity Tool and Racial Equity Plans.

Adverse Impacts: refers to practices or policies that appear neutral but have a discriminatory effect on a protected group. Source: Office of Equity and Human Rights (OEHR)

Civil Rights Title VI: refers to Federal law. No person in the United States, on the grounds of Race, Color, or National Origin, shall be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination under any program, service, or activity of a public entity, like the City of Portland, that receives federal assistance.

Communities of Color: is a term used primarily in the United States to describe communities of people who are not identified as White, emphasizing common experiences of racism. Source: OEHR

Discrimination: refers to practices or policies that may be considered discriminatory and illegal if they have a disproportionate "adverse impact" on persons in a protected class. Source: OEHR

Disparate Impacts: refers to practices or policies that may be considered discriminatory and illegal if they have a disproportionate "adverse impact" on persons in a protected class. Source: OEHR

Diversity: includes all the ways in which people differ, and it encompasses all the different characteristics that make one individual or group different from one another. Source: UC Berkeley Center for Equity, Inclusion and Diversity

Ethnicity: a category of people who identify with each other based on common language, ancestral, social, cultural, or national experiences. Source: Oxford English Dictionary

Equity: When one’s identity cannot predict the outcome. Source: OEHR

Equity Lens: is a critical thinking approach to undoing institutional and structural racism, which evaluates burdens, benefits, and outcomes to underserved communities. Source: OEHR

Explicit Bias: is the evaluation of one group and its members relative to one another, expressed directly, with full awareness. Source: OEHR

Implicit Bias: is the evaluation of one group and its members relative to one another, expressed indirectly, usually without awareness. This operates in one’s subconscious. Source: OEHR

Institutional Racism: occurs within institutions and systems of power. It is the unfair policies and discriminatory practices of particular institutions (schools, workplaces, etc.) Source: Race Forward, Moving the Race Conversation Forward

Internalized Racism: lies within individuals. These are our private beliefs and biases about race and racism, influenced by our culture. Source: Race Forward, Moving the Race Conversation Forward

Interpersonal Racism: occurs between individuals. These are biases that occur when individuals interact with others and their private racial beliefs affect their public interactions. Source: Race Forward, Moving the Race Conversation Forward

Privilege: refers to the unearned set of advantages, entitlements, and benefits bestowed by the formal and informal institutions of society to ALL members of a dominant group (e.g. White privilege, male privilege, etc.). Privilege is usually invisible to those who have it. Source: OEHR

Race: a non-scientific classification of human beings created by Europeans (Whites) which assigns human worth and social status for the purpose of establishing and maintaining privilege and power. Source: adapted from Ronald Chisom and Michael Washington, Undoing Racism: A Philosophy of International Social Change

Racial Disparity: A significant difference in conditions between a racial group and the White population that is avoidable and unjust. For example, African-Americans are underrepresented in City of Portland management positions when compared to the percentage of African-Americans in the general population or the representation of Whites in management positions. Source: OEHR

Racial Equity: when race does not determine or predict the distribution of resources, opportunities, and burdens for group members in society. Source: OEHR

Racial Equity Framework: An understanding of the root causes of racial disparities, an analysis of the structures that perpetuate these disparities, and the ability to deploy critical strategies to undoing those structures (i.e. community self-determination, shifting power, etc…) in order to replace them with structures that produce equitable outcomes. Source: OEHR

Racial Equity Tool: A set of strategies, procedures, and resources designed to integrate explicit consideration of racial equity and that can be implemented and applied throughout organizational policy, procedures, and operations to ensure/drive equitable process, impacts, and outcomes. Source: OEHR

Structural Racism: is racial bias among institutions and across society. Source: Race Forward, Moving the Race Conversation Forward

Under-served: refers to people and places that historically and currently have not had equitable resources or access to infrastructure, healthy environments, housing choice, etc.  Disparities may be recognized in both services and in outcomes. Source: OEHR


City of Portland Tribal Liaison

The Position:

The Office of the Mayor is seeking candidates for Tribal Liaison. A primary objective is to assist the City Council and all city bureaus to establish and strengthen relationships with tribal nations, tribal officials and staff, and urban Indian leadership and communities. This position is responsible for overall American Indian/Alaska Native policy development and overall coordination of the city’s relationships with Native American tribal governments and affiliated entities, and also American Indians and Alaska Natives living in Portland. It involves providing expertise on tribal history, treaties, sovereignty, self-governance, protocols, customs and traditions, natural resources, relevant economic enterprises and cultural properties. The position provides a primary point of contact for City and the tribal public, and also involves facilitating the identification and discussion of urban Indian needs in Portland and facilitating discussions of Portland’s interests with Pacific Northwest tribes. The Tribal Liaison will report to the Mayor’s Deputy Chief of Staff and hold a full-time position within the Office of the Mayor.

Job Responsibilities:

  • Establish and maintain a City Tribal Program and tribal policy for consultation. These efforts will be in coordination with tribes and the tribal urban community in order to incorporate tribal governments and Native American Community into its decision-making processes. The goal is to create and nurture long-term, positive relationships with its Tribal Government Partners and the Native American community.
  • Develop internal city policies, procedures and protocols that support and affirm its commitment to government-to-government consultation with Native American tribal governments, and affirm its commitment to urban Indian leaders. These activities include coordination with appropriate city departments and staff, ensuring consistent city policy across departments and equity opportunities. Educate City Council and City staff on Native American values, and to the extent practical, incorporate Native American values throughout City government.
  • Advise city officials on tribal history, treaties, sovereignty, self-governance, protocols, customs and traditions, natural resources, cultural properties, and other issues concerning city relations with Native American tribal governments. Keeps current the many tribal events within the City’s calendar. This includes review and advice on technical documents such as traditional cultural property inventories, and archeology reports, and a legal understanding of the different jurisdictions involved.
  • Assist in development of strategies for city discussions and negotiations with Native American tribal governments, in hope of creating mutually beneficial agreements and partnerships between the city and tribal governments.
  • Coordinate interaction with regional or national tribal organizations whose functions or interests intersect and/or align with the city’s objectives. National organizations include, but are not limited to the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), and Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (ATNI). Coordinate across all agencies and regional jurisdictions as necessary, such as with Metro.
  • Coordinate staffing of city elected officials and departmental directors in discussions and negotiations with Native American tribal governments.
  • Manage special projects as needed, such as coordinating tribal engagement in major City projects and leading city officials and staff in reviewing urban Indian needs and services.
  • Strengthen relationships with Native American tribal governments while coordinating and providing expertise to other city departments involved in these relationships.


To Qualify:

Strong analytical, writing, and oral communication skills. A Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration, Public Policy, Native American Studies, Environmental Resources, Archeology, or a related field, or a combination of training and experience which provides equivalent background to perform the job responsibilities.

At least five years experience providing policy analysis and development, including staffing tribal and/or other governmental decision makers. Experience working with Native American tribal governments, the U.S. Federal government, and various State government agencies, on matters requiring knowledge of tribal government (self-determination, sovereignty, economic development) and tribal negotiations and relations with other governments. Experience within the community of Portland is strongly desired, as well as working knowledge of the City of Portland’s governmental structure.

Working knowledge of and demonstrated experience with Native American tribal protocol, custom, tradition, culture, and governmental relations. Experience working on a multi-disciplinary team addressing complex, high-level projects in an organization with multiple lines of business. Knowledge of legal work on tribal/treaty matters. Familiarity with the requirements of Presidential Executive Order 13175, Tribal Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments, the Federal Trust Responsibility, and principles of Federal Indian Law.

The compensation level for this position ranges from $24.75 per hour to $45.24 per hour and will be determined based on the selected applicant’s relevant experience, education, and skills.


To Apply:

Please email a résumé and a cover letter outlining your interest and qualifications for the position to Sidd Mandava at mayor.intern2@portlandoregon.gov by 5:00 p.m. on July 1, 2016.

If any questions arise, please also direct them to Sidd Mandava at mayor.intern2@portlandoregon.gov and we will respond to you shortly.


Young Black Men: make the most of your summer

Black Male Achievement (BMA) Portland Announces Summer Youth Experience 2016

Picture of Summer Youth Experience participants

Young Black men participating in the SummerWorks jobs program are encouraged to join the 2016 BMA Summer Youth Experience (SYE). SYE supplements the SummerWorks experience by providing opportunities for:

      1. personal and professional development

      2. building long-term relationships with peers

      3. developing a youth-led community engagement project

The first SYE goal is to provide culturally-specific emotional and social intelligence curriculum to provide a supportive base for young Black men who participate in SYE.

Secondly, the program sets out to support young Black men in the summer jobs through professional mentoring, on-the-job problem-solving, access to BMA professional networks, strengths-based relationship building, supportive leadership opportunities, and more.

Community engagement rounds out the experience with a youth-led capstone project that focuses on Portland's homelessness crisis.

Interested youth should contact their Summerworks Job Coach to apply. For more information, please contact CJ Robbins at 503.823.5143 or condry.robbins@portlandoregon.gov

Learn more by watching a review of last year's program here: https://youtu.be/SBuPK3IhCrU

 


May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Month in Portland

Asian American community with City Council

APANO presents report on AAPI Community to City Council

May 4, 2016

PORTLAND - Representatives from the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO) presented their summary of Community of Contrasts: Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in West, a report about the growing Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NHPI) populations in the Western United States, including Oregon. APANO partnered with national civil rights group, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, to produce the report.

Kristina Narayan, Khanh Pham, and Van-Anh Lee testified before Council with the report summary and personal accounts.

The report is available at this link: http://www.apano.org/news-events/landmark-report-reveals-growing-contributions-and-challenges-facing-asians-pacific-islanders-in-the-west/

After the presentation, Mayor Charlie Hales proclaimed May as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in Portland.

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Learn How to Apply for a Job with the City

Graphic: How to apply for a City job

The public is invited to learn more about the City of Portland job application process by signing up for a class. Participants will learn about differences between the City and the private sector, application steps, creating an account with NEOGOV, reviewing job announcements, submitting application materials, application communication, and interviewing types.

Classes are held from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. in the Portland Building, 1120 SW 5th Ave, 2nd floor, Room HR-1 on the following dates:

  • August 16
  • September 13
  • October 11

To sign up, contact Cydney Khan: Cydney.Khan@portlandoregon.gov or Kyanne Probasco: Kyanne.Probasco@portlandoregon.gov

Note: If there is not a minimum of five attendees, the class will be cancelled.

If you need an accommodation to participate in City-sponsored training, please contact Cydney Khan or Kyanne Probasco. In order to best provide services, please try to notify the City of Portland of the need for accommodations or services five (5) days prior to any event.


Office of Equity and Human Rights Presents 2015 Annual Report to City Council

March 30, 2016

PORTLAND — Dante J. James, director of Portland’s Office of Equity and Human Rights (OEHR), presented the bureau’s Annual Report for 2015 to City Council today.

Photo of Dante J. JamesJames reviewed equity highlights from the past calendar year and offered a glimpse of works in progress, including the Five-Year Bureau Racial Equity Plan process that each City bureau is undergoing. He added that the office will expand its engagement on the issue of disability, saying that Portland can become a leader in disability equity work just as it has become a national model in racial equity.

“I believe we are now in the most difficult phase of this work,” said James. “Beginning this work was actually easier than where we are now. This City is truly a national model, but we still have work to do. We are now at a place where many staff believe they "get it." Unfortunately, for some, there is not yet the depth of understanding of root causes that are continuing to create disparities or of the opportunities we can create that would benefit everyone.”

Community members provided testimony in support of the office’s efforts to institutionalize equity in City policies, practices, and procedures.

OEHR Bureau Advisory Committee Member, Ranfis Giannettino Villatoro, said there is a general fear in the community about “equity” being a buzzword or a flavor of the month, like “diversity” and “inclusion” in the past.Photo of Ranfis Giannettino Villatoro

“These aren’t mere buzzwords for us. What we’re really talking about is addressing institutional racism and implicit bias, and I think OEHR and the City have done much to advance how the City sees equity…but I think there are still challenges ahead,” he added.

Villatoro said the City should work with more urgency to address disparities for communities of color: “Now is a great moment to continue these conversations and to develop these strategies.”

Portland disability commissioner, Philip Wolfe, thanked Council for the bold risk in passing the captioning ordinance for televisions in public venues—an issue that Wolfe advocated for passionately on behalf of deaf and hard-of-hearing Portlanders. He also thanked Director James and OEHR staff for supporting the Portland Commission on Disability.

City Attorney, Tracy Reeve, lauded OEHR Senior Policy Advisor, Judith Mowry, and staff for developing and hosting a two-day educational convening for City and regional government lawyers with the Government Alliance on Race and Equity and john a. powell. She also mentioned her appreciation for the equity training and consultation her office has received from OEHR.

Before the Council vote, James presented each commissioner with a City Council Equity Lens card that included four simple equity questions they should ask themselves before introducing or voting on City policy proposals:

1. Is my implicit bias impacting how I think about this issue?

2. How will this issue impact communities of color?

3. How will this issue impact people with disabilities?

4. Is there an opportunity to reduce disparities?

Picture of Council Equity Lens (text below picture)

Commissioner Steve Novick thanked James for the equity lens and said he would keep it in front of him, at his desk, at all times.

Novick also thanked OEHR for its involvement in the City budget process: “The budget is how we express our values, so the work of the office in the budget process is critically important.”

Commissioner Amanda Fritz thanked OEHR staff for its racial equity work as well as its focus on communities with disabilities, specifically the Americans with Disabilities Title II Transition Plan process.

“Our work is not done,” Fritz said. “We have definitely made a good start and equity has started to become something that many more City employees and people in the community understand, embrace, and care about passionately.”

Referencing OEHR’s skeptics and barriers during its formation, Commissioner Nick Fish thanked Fritz for being a fierce champion in developing the office, and Mayor Charlie Hales for his leadership of the bureau in recent years.

To further institutionalize equity, Fish suggested including clear equity expectations in Bureau Directors’ annual letters and to work with OEHR to develop implementation plans and metrics for the directors.

Hales thanked James, OEHR staff, and the volunteers who serve on the Portland Commission on Disability, Human Rights Commission, Black Male Achievement Steering Committee, and Diverse and Empowered Employees of Portland.

“Thanks to the training and the work that you do, I’ve learned that as a privileged White male, I’m perhaps not to blame for racism, but I’m responsible for it and that’s true for all of us,” Hales said. “We have the chance to learn where we fit in the work of equity.”

The Annual Report was accepted unanimously by Council (Commissioner Dan Saltzman was absent for the morning session).

View the 2015 Annual Report: http://www.portlandoregon.gov/oehr/article/570921

View the presentation to Council: https://youtu.be/Ch4vR70bfK8?t=40m49s

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Open Letter from Human Rights Commission to Council

HRC Logo

December 17, 2015

Honorable Mayor Charlie Hales and City Commissioners
City Hall, 1221 SW 4th Ave.
Portland, OR, 97204

Re: Open Letter of Support for Resolution to support Muslim and Immigrant Community Members

To Mayor Hales, and Commissioners Fritz, Novick, Saltzman, and Fish:

The City of Portland Human Rights Commission commends the action taken by the City and writes in support of resolution 1334-1 which declared support for the City’s Muslim community and reaffirms Portland’s welcoming nature for all immigrants and refugees.

On Wednesday, December 16, 2015 the City took an important step forward in supporting and protecting our fellow community members in a manner that upholds human rights and moves us closer towards building a more inclusive place for all who live, work, play, and worship in the City of Portland.

As a commission we thank you and we urge you to continue to stand strong in the face of bigotry, racism, and discrimination in all of its forms both overt and systemic.

The Human Rights Commission is guided by the principles of the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We believe that any attempts to restrict the movement of individuals based on their religious affiliations is in direct conflict with the Declaration’s Article 2, which embodies freedom from discrimination based on several distinctions, including religion; and Article 18, which affirms the right to freedom of religion for all.

In recent weeks the state of the national political landscape and the rhetoric that continues to be shared means that the concept of human rights itself for ALL is being questioned and the concept of eliminating discrimination and bigotry is something that seems to be under fire.

As the City of Portland Human Rights Commission we want you to know that if the same rights that we fight for and are privileged to have today are not afforded to our friends, family members, classmates, co-workers, and community members who identify as Muslim, our work is far from over. Your action taken on December 16th is indicative of leaders who are working on the right side of history to support us all.

We recognize the strength and vital nature in aligning as a community to support all community members and the intentionality necessary to specifically protect our Muslim community members at a time such as this. Thank you for your leadership in this effort and for the sponsorship of and unanimous vote in support for resolution 1334-1.

Sincerely,
Chabre Vickers
Chair, City of Portland Human Rights Commission

Signed on behalf of the City of Portland Human Rights Commission


SOLD OUT! 2015 Emily G. Gottfried Human Rights Awards

Emily G. Gottfried Human Rights Awards

Join the Portland Human Rights Commission as they honor the memory and human rights legacy of Emily G. Gottfried. They will present the Lifetime Achievement Award to Tom Potter, the Outstanding Organization Award to Street Roots, and the Emerging Leader Award to Cat Goughnour.

We are excited to announce that Erious Johnson will be our Keynote Speaker.

The awards luncheon will take place on Friday, December 11, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Moda Center's Rose Room, 1 N Center Ct St, Portland.

All proceeds from ticket sales will go to the honorees' non-profit organizations of choice.

For more information, please contact Tatiana Elejalde at 503-823-4432 or tatiana.elejalde@portlandoregon.gov

In compliance with Civil Rights laws, it is the policy of the City of Portland that no person shall be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination in any City program, service, or activity on the grounds of race, color, national origin, or disability. To help ensure equal access to City programs, services, and activities, the City of Portland reasonably provides: translation and interpretation services, modifications, accommodations, auxiliary aides and services, and alternative format.  For these services, complaints, and additional information, contact 503-823-4432, use City TTY 503-823-6868, or use Oregon Relay Service: 711.


Getting to Moda Center / Parking

Free parking is available in the Garden Garage at the P4 level.

The Rose Quarter is conveniently located next to two MAX Light Rail stations. The Rose Quarter Transit Center is located on the red, blue and green lines and is located south of the arena. The Interstate/Rose Quarter station is located on the western side of the Rose Quarter campus and serves riders on the yellow line.


City of Portland Human Rights Commission Endorses Occupation-Free Portland’s Proposed Statement to the Socially Responsive Investments Committee

HRC Logo

October 29, 2015

On October 7, 2015, the Portland Human Rights Commission (HRC) unanimously voted to support Occupation-Free Portland’s request to the City’s Socially Responsible Investments committee (SRI) to place four U.S. companies on the City’s “Do Not Buy” list: Caterpillar, G4S, Hewlett-Packard, and Motorola Solutions.

  • As a commission guided by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, HRC based its decision to endorse Occupation-Free Portland’s letter solely on the four companies’ involvement in human rights violations in Israel and Palestine. This was not an issue relating to religion or nationality, but solely on human rights impacts, and a request to the City of Portland to divest from companies profiting from violent conflict.

  • HRC’s endorsement of the letter was specifically for the Occupation-Free Portland request to be presented to SRI, where that City body would use their process to determine whether the request fits their guidelines for recommendation to Council.

  • The process that led to HRC’s endorsement of the letter began with public testimony at HRC’s September 2, 2015 meeting. After hearing from numerous community members, HRC requested additional information and additional time for review; and communicated to attendees that the commission would hold a vote at the October 7, 2015 meeting. This process allowed Human Rights Commissioners a full month between the time the request was introduced, to the time at which the vote took place.

  • Regardless of any post-meeting renouncements, the unanimous vote stands unless another full-Commission vote takes place.

“Our job as Human Rights Commissioners is to hear and take action on human rights issues,” said Audrey Alverson, HRC vice chair. “This work, by default, is difficult and uncomfortable and often involves push back. We recognize that many issues we are asked to consider are complex and multi-faceted; and as a commission, we work to hold true to our mission of upholding the ideals expressed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the ideal that those rights are endowed to all human beings, regardless of their politics. Our decisions may be unpopular to some or even to the majority, but human rights issues wouldn’t exist if these positions were popular.”

As an all-volunteer advisory body to City of Portland’s elected leaders, the HRC is not charged with making decisions nor declarations on City policy, but rather with advising elected leaders on human rights issues within the city. One avenue through which HRC’s advisory statements and endorsements are informed is by receiving community input in a variety of forums, including regularly scheduled public comment at HRC’s monthly meetings.

The HRC works to eliminate discrimination and bigotry, to strengthen inter-group relationships, and to foster greater understanding, inclusion, and justice for those who live, work, study, worship, travel and play in the City of Portland.

For more information, please contact Jeff Selby at jeff.selby@portlandoregon.gov

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Portland hosts National League of Cities’ Black Male Achievement Convening

BMA Logo

October 13, 2015

PORTLAND – The City of Portland will host 35 Black Male Achievement (BMA) representatives from six cities, October 14-16, 2015. Participants will attend workshops and site visits to learn about BMA Portland’s efforts in the areas of policy promotion, organizational structures, city-community collaboration, and engagement of young Black men and boys.

Mayor Charlie Hales will host a joint press conference at City Hall on October 15 at 3:30 p.m. with National League of Cities and BMA representatives. Following the press conference, the community is invited to a hip hop show at City Hall featuring Star Chile, DJ O.G.ONE, and special guests at 4:00 p.m.

“We’re proud that the National League of Cities has chosen Portland for their Technical Assistance Cross-site Convening,” said Dante J. James, director of Portland’s Office of Equity and Human Rights. “It shows that BMA Portland is an example of success and other cities are taking notice.”

The City of Portland was selected as one of 11 cities to participate in the National League of Cities’ BMA Initiative to improve outcomes for Black men and boys. The program is designed to work across public and private sectors and among jurisdictions to help improve the life outcomes of Black men and boys in four key areas: Education, Employment, Family Stability, and Criminal Justice.

Housed in the Office of Equity and Human Rights within Mayor Charlie Hales’ portfolio, BMA works with officials in Multnomah County government, as well as with for-profit and non-profit entities to create access to jobs and mentoring.

For more information, please contact Jeff Selby at jeff.selby@portlandoregon.gov.

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Mayor Proposes Indigenous Peoples' Day to Council

City logo

Mayor Charlie Hales tomorrow will ask Portland City Council to consider a resolution declaring the second Monday in October Indigenous Peoples’ Day in the City of Portland, reaffirming the City’s commitment to promoting the prosperity and well-being of Portland’s American Indian, Alaska Native, and Indigenous communities. 

Portland is home to the ninth-largest Native American population in the United States, and its urban Native community is descended from more than 200 tribes. The history of indigenous communities in Portland is woven into the fabric of the City; a shared commitment to environmental stewardship and love of place continue to make Portland a leader in sustainability and livability. 

“The movement to make this day a reality in the U.S began decades ago, so this Resolution is long overdue,” said Dante James, director of Portland’s Office of Equity and Human Rights. “I am pleased that Portland is honoring the history, spirit and contributions of American Indian communities with whom we share our city and region.”

Indigenous Peoples’ Day was first proposed in 1977 by the delegation of Native Nations to the United Nations. It wasn’t until 2010 that the United States endorsed a United Nations declaration that recognized “indigenous peoples have suffered from historic injustices as a result of … their colonization and dispossession of their lands, territories and resources.”

“The area now known as the City of Portland rests on the homelands and traditional territory of many neighboring tribal nations,” said Se-ah-dom Edmo, Commissioner for the Human Rights Commission. “Treaties with Tribes are the legal foundation of this country; they give legal permission for the United States to exist on this land, and I am proud to serve a City that is taking steps to honor those foundational legal commitments.”

On Wednesday, Edmo and representatives from the Native American Youth and Family Center, Grand Ronde Tribal Council, Columbia River treaty tribes will testify before Council, and Carlos McNair of the Klamath Tribes will be offering an honor song.

If the Resolution is adopted by Council, the City of Portland will recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day in Portland on Monday, Oct. 12.

 

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Black Male Achievement Portland will hold Summer Youth Experience recognition ceremony on Saturday

BMA Logo

September 23, 2015

PORTLAND – Black Male Achievement (BMA) Portland will hold a ceremony to recognize participants in the Summer Youth Experience on Saturday, September 26, 2015 at The Ambridge Event Center (1333 NE MLK Jr. Blvd.), from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. This summer, the BMA Steering Committee organized and facilitated the BMA Summer Youth Experience in partnership with the City of Portland, Multnomah County, and Worksystems, Inc. The evidence-based, culturally-specific professional development program was designed with a holistic approach to enhance and strengthen emotional intelligence and to use that awareness to guide thinking and behavior.

The young men organized into cohorts based on the BMA Steering Committee focus Areas: Education, Employment, Family Stability, and Criminal Justice. As part of their project capstone activity, the participants presented their findings and recommendations in a youth-led summit earlier this month.

Partnering with Worksystems, Inc., The Summer Youth Experience also included a jobs program, placing young Black men in jobs throughout the region.

Community members are encouraged to attend the celebration on Saturday.

The City of Portland complies with all non‐discrimination, Civil Rights laws including Civil Rights Title VI and ADA Title II. To request translation, interpretation, accommodation, modifications, or additional information, please contact CJ Robbins at Condry.robbins@portlandoregon.gov, 503-823-5143, or use City TTY 503‐823‐6868, or Oregon Relay Service: 711.

About BMA: The City of Portland was selected as one of 11 cities to participate in the National League of Cities’ Black Male Achievement Initiative to improve outcomes for Black men and boys. The BMA is designed to address four specific focus areas: Education, Employment, Family Stability, and Criminal Justice.   BMA Portland is an umbrella entity of over 20 organizations in the region represented by Black men that will act as convener, facilitator, policy guide, and collective voice to exert influence and push for change for the betterment of Black men and boys. A two-year process of community engagement and visioning was undertaken to gain feedback, clarity, and direction for the work.

Housed in the Office of Equity and Human Rights within Mayor Hales’ portfolio, BMA works with officials in Multnomah County government, as well as with for-profit and non-profit entities to create access to jobs and mentoring.

For more information, visit http://www.portlandoregon.gov/oehr/BMA.

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HRC Youth Commissioner receives national recognition

Photo of Alisha ZhouFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Oregon’s Alisha Zhao, 16, Selected to Serve as a National Child Awareness Month Youth Ambassador

Zhao to receive funding, training to lead large-scale service initiative to create positive change in the lives of Oregon’s children

Washington, D.C. (June 30, 2015) –YSA (Youth Service America) and Festival of Children Foundation announce that Alisha Zhao of Oregon will serve as a National Child Awareness Month Youth Ambassador. As one of 51 Youth Ambassadors selected from a nationwide pool, Alisha will receive funding and training to lead an initiative to counteract the negative effects poverty has on childhood development through providing youth experiencing homelessness with affordable and convenient programs in the areas of education, creativity, physical activity, and health.

Alisha’s work begins in September—National Child Awareness Month— when she travels to Washington, D.C., for leadership training and meetings with members of the state’s congressional delegation. She then returns home to launch her nonprofit, Kids First Project, which addresses Oregon’s issue of being ranked 46th in the nation for early childhood education as well as its lack of recreational programs for disadvantaged youth. Its mission is to promote HOPE - Health, Opportunity, Play, and Education - by raising awareness on the lack of funding going towards disadvantaged children, providing the resources necessary for children experiencing homelessness to reach their full potential, freeing up time for parents to find housing, and ultimately breaking the intergenerational cycle of poverty.

Alisha was selected through a competitive application process, and chosen based on the quality of her project proposal and its potential to create substantive, large-scale change on behalf of young people in Oregon.

Now in its eighth year, National Child Awareness Month is a program spearheaded by Festival of Children Foundation to raise awareness about issues affecting children and encourage the nation's youth to take action.

The 51 Youth Ambassadors will work in their communities, and form a collective network to raise awareness around issues important to young people. Youth Ambassadors receive a national-level platform for their cause; a $1,000 grant to develop a service project his or her home state; ongoing training and project guidance; and networking opportunities with other Youth Ambassadors across the country.

“These teens and young adults are the future of philanthropy. They understand the importance of making a difference and giving back. Festival of Children Foundation’s collaboration with YSA allows us to give these kids the tools to create a powerful youth network that will create lasting change across the country,” said Sandy Segerstrom Daniels, founder and executive director of Festival of Children Foundation.

Ms. Alisha Zhao is a junior at Lincoln High School in Portland, Oregon. With a passion for human rights and service, Alisha is the first youth to ever serve on her city’s Human Rights Commission. She is also the founder of Lincoln’s Hope For Homeless Club and the nonprofit, Kids First Project. Alisha has been recognized through the Dr. Arnold Rustin Award, Civic Award, KATU News, and ANNpower Fellowship. While being involved in government and community service, she maintains a 4.0 GPA and participates in the International Baccalaureate program. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, playing lacrosse, and reading. Alisha aspires to someday work for the United Nations with a double major in political science and international relations.

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Learn how to apply for a City of Portland job

The public is invited to learn more about the City of Portland job application process by signing up for a class. Participants will learn about differences between the City versus the private sector, the steps of how to apply: creating an account with NEOGOV, reviewing job announcements, submitting application materials, application communication, and interviewing types.

Classes are held from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in the Portland Building, 1120 SW 5th Ave, 2nd floor, Room HR-1 on the following dates:

  • August 4
  • September 15
  • October 6
  • November 3
  • December 1

To sign up, contact Mallory O’Donnell: Mallory.ODonnell@portlandoregon.gov or Tamara Larison: Tamara.Larison@portlandoregon.gov

Note: If there is not a minimum of five attendees, the class will be cancelled.

Max Lines:

  • Green & Yellow Lines (Stop: City Hall/SW Jefferson)
  • Red & Blue Lines (Stop: Pioneer Square) After September 12, 2015 Orange Line (Stop: SW Madison)

Bus Lines:

For detailed information on all bus lines to Portland City Center please visit http://trimet.org/bus/index.htm

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): If you need an ADA accommodation to participate in City-sponsored training, please contact Mallory O’Donnell or Tamara Larison. In order to best provide services, please try to notify the City of Portland of the need for accommodations or services five (5) days prior to any event.


Black Male Achievement Portland Summer Youth Experience Kickoff

Photo of youth and BMA Steering Committee

July 17, 2015

PORTLAND — Black Male Achievement (BMA) Portland's Summer Youth Experience is a collaboration with Worksystems and IRCO to both support youth in their successful completion of the Summerworks program, and to engage youth in a culturally specific, policy-focused, youth-led summit.

The program, which launched today at City Hall, involves fifty self-selected young Black men in the Summerworks program who will meet every Friday to learn more about each of the BMA policy focus areas and identify issues they face as young Black men.

They will receive emotional intelligence training and will spend the majority of their time in the Friday sessions organizing and planning a youth-led summit where they will present the issues they have identified, as well as solutions.

BMA Portland is an umbrella entity of over 20 organizations in the region represented by Black men that will act as convener, facilitator, policy guide, and collective voice to exert influence and push for change for the betterment of Black men and boys. A two-year process of community engagement and visioning was undertaken to gain feedback, clarity, and direction for the work.

Housed in the Office of Equity and Human Rights within Mayor Hales’ portfolio, BMA works with officials in Multnomah County government, as well as with for-profit and non-profit entities to create access to jobs and mentoring. 


Local storytellers share their experiences of living with disabilities at Portland ADA 25 Celebration

June 16, 2015

ADA 25 Logo

The City of Portland’s Office of Equity and Human Rights, Portland Commission on Disability, and community partners invite the community to attend a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on Sunday, July 26th from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. The ADA 25 event will be held at Immigrant & Refugee Community Organization (IRCO) located at 10301 NE Glisan St. Portland, OR 97220. The ADA is a landmark civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life.

The celebration’s theme is “Sharing Our Histories, Dreaming Our Future” and features storytellers who will share their personal experiences of living with disabilities. The storytelling project is made possible by an expanding cultural access grant from the Regional Arts & Culture Council. The storytelling portion of the celebration will give the audience and those unfamiliar with the disability community an array of voices and disabilities, and an opportunity to hear from individuals from varied cultural backgrounds.

The City of Portland’s Commission on Disability’s mission is to guide the City in ensuring that it is a more universally accessible city for all. Despite advances in the ADA, people with disabilities still face barriers to employment, housing, transportation and other basic needs. Portland Commission on Disability works to bring a cross-disability perspective to City policy development and decision-making.

For questions on how to participate, volunteer, or sponsor, contact Phillip Hillaire, ADA 25 Event Coordinator, at 503-823-5146. 

Other details: City Council members will be present. Community organization-hosted tables will be on display. ASL and audio description will be provided. All video will be captioned. Universally accessible event.

Quotes:

Lavaun Heaster, Chair, Portland Commission on Disability:

“How often do most people get the opportunity to sit down with folks from a variety of disability communities and really hear their truth? For me this event is so exciting because I feel that the stories of folks with disabilities are so silent in the broader storytelling community and I want to laugh, cry, feel outraged and touched with members of all my communities.”

Ryan Stroud, Storytelling Coach/Workshop Facilitator:

“Over the course of four workshops, participants worked together to choose a true, personal story about their lived experience, and to prepare their stories for the stage. This process facilitated the creation of narratives that revealed both their universal and unique experiences, helping their audience gain a more complex view of what it is like to live with a disability.”


Equity Matters: Why focus on Racial Equity?

The video accompanied the presentation and subsequent adoption by Council of City-wide Racial Equity Goals and Strategies.

The Office thanks the following for their participation in the video:

  • Dr. Toeutu Faaleava
  • Sharon Gary-Smith, MRG Foundation
  • Diego Hernandez, Momentum Alliance
  • Mayor Hales, City Commissioners, and staffs


City Council Adopts City-wide Racial Equity Goals

July 8, 2015

Photo of Dante James and Judith Mowry

PORTLAND – The City of Portland’s Office of Equity and Human Rights presented its City-wide Racial Equity Goals and Strategies to City Council and Commissioners unanimously voted to adopt the goals and strategies as binding City policy.

Bureau Director, Dante James, said, "We can’t just let this be a symbol…we have to ensure that we mean what we say. The community needs to know we mean what we say and feel that something is happening differently because of what we say."

Community members and City employees testified in support of the goals and strategies:

  • Nkenge Harmon Johnson, CEO of Portland Urban League
  • Sharon Gary-Smith, Executive Director of MRG Foundation
  • Chabre Vickers, Chair of Portland Human Rights Commission
  • Art Hendricks, Equity Manager for Portland Parks and Recreation
  • Eric Nomura, Independent Police Review / Citywide Equity Committee Steering Committee Member

The Racial Equity Goals and Strategies can be found here: http://www.portlandoregon.gov/oehr/article/535767

A video that explains the background and need for the Racial Equity Goals and Strategies is here:https://youtu.be/iTtkhCFCxRw

 


City-wide Racial Equity Goals presentation to Council

July 7, 2015

PORTLAND – The City of Portland’s Office of Equity and Human Rights will present its City-wide Racial Equity Goals and Strategies to City Council, tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. at City Hall.

Council is expected to adopt the racial equity goals and strategies as a guide to help institutionalize racial equity in City policies, plans, and procedures.

Community members and City employees will be present to testify in support of adopting the goals and strategies.

QUOTES:

Dante James, Bureau Director:

“We have looked across the country at various best practices for racial equity work and produced a set of three overall city-wide goals that are fairly wide-raging and all-encompassing. These goals may be specifically couched in terms of racial equity, but achieving these goals will help provide greater benefits for everyone as they receive the services of the City.

Mayor Charlie Hales:

“We are a very diverse city. And racial equity means understanding both that diversity today and the institutional racism and historical wrongs that underlie that diversity, even now.”

Portland’s Office of Equity and Human Rights provides education and technical support to City staff and elected officials, leading to recognition and removal of systemic barriers to fair and just distribution of resources, access, and opportunity; starting with issues of race and disability.

For more information, please contact Jeff Selby at jeff.selby@portlandoregon.gov.

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Reflections on Racism

Photo of Dante JamesSitting on Father’s Day reflecting on my father, while at the same time swimming in the aftermath of the massacre in Charleston (“tragedy” is just such a benign term), I thought of who I am, and who and what I am connected to. My father was the grandson of a slave, his father the son of a slave. I have photos of my great grandfather taken after emancipation.  I am the great grandson of a slave. 

The conversations about race, racism, bigotry, the confederate flag, historic oppression; these conversations are not abstract discussions for me, nor for many others who can trace their immediate lineage to slavery. I knew the son and grandson of a slave, my grandfather and father.  I can still feel my grandfather’s beautiful, smooth, dark leathery skin, wince at the remembered harshness of his whiskers, and hear the gruffness of his voice.  They are both long since gone, and the chance to, as an adult, hear the stories of how lives were lived is no longer available.  It is my obligation to not forget, to consciously remember, my history and who I am. 

The events of last week, last month, last year, and the years gone by, create a constant weariness in me, and those who look like me.  We can’t always articulate it, but as Black folks, we are always wondering what the next horrific example of racism will be.  Wondering what new story will emerge describing how we were experimented on by the government, (the most recent NPR story describing a WW II experiment when Black men were locked in a room and subjected to chemical weapons to see if dark skin was more resistant than white skin).  I am tired.  I am weary.  I am motivated to try to help non-Black folks understand.  But why do I need to explain why the confederate flag is a gross reminder of what my father, grandfather and great grandfather had to suffer?  Why do I need to explain why diffusing the conversation about racism by describing the murderer as “mentally unstable” does not acknowledge the fact that the immediate cause of his acts in that church, murdering those African American men and women, was racism, not mental illness?  Why do I need to explain that the problem is not with Black folks, but with White folks? 

My current job is to address institutional racism in government.  How do I help my peers, my colleagues, my bosses understand the need to say something, to express that they hear, see and feel the pain that this mass murder has caused?  This was an act of terrorism, nothing less.  The perception of constant attack on Blackness; whether by killing or failing to care, killing or failing to provide needed and deserved services, killing or ignoring, killing or failing to speak, killing or refusing to lower a flag in respect…..all are wounds that infect the system, the system of a person’s biology or the system of government.

I and all who look like me will persevere because that is who we are and what we do.  My father, grandfather and great grandfather deserve no less.  


Dante James interviewed by Cityvision Magazine

Download (image/jpeg, 3,200kb)

Do you have ideas or opinions about community-police relations in Portland?

Paul De Muniz Photo

 

Meet with Justice Paul De Muniz, the former Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court, selected by the Compliance Officer/Community Liaison team from the Department of Justice settlement with the City of Portland.

Justice De Muniz is conducting community engagement sessions in various locations around the city on most Monday afternoons. Paul De Muniz will be at this location next:

Monday March 30th, 3:00-6:00 p.m.

Kenton Neighborhood Library
8226 N. Denver Ave.
503-988-5370

No appointment is needed. 


Office of Equity and Human Rights Presents 2014 Annual Report to Council

Photo of Dante James

March 18, 2015

Portland — The Director of Portland's Office of Equity and Human Rights, Dante James, presented the office’s 2014 Annual Report to City Council today, three days after the bureau’s third anniversary.

“I must offer significant thanks to the many employees who have taken on the task of making the city of Portland a place where everyone can feel welcome, heard, and valued,” James said. “Equity is at the heart of how the City provides its services.”

James also acknowledged the work of the various commissions, employee groups, and community organizations who partner with the office to address systemic issues facing Portlanders.

Community members and City bureau partners testified in support of the office’s work and Council members gave kudos as well:

Commissioner Amanda Fritz
“This is good to celebrate the achievements of the Office of Equity and Human Rights which was so difficult to form…We’ve had a lot of criticism from folks who say we haven’t done enough and we haven’t done it fast enough—both of those are correct—but I’m very pleased to celebrate what we have done.”

Commissioner Nick Fish
“We have a chance to work pretty regularly with members of your equity team on various matters, so I just want to acknowledge the great team you have and their professionalism.”

Commissioner Steve Novick
“I want to express my appreciation to Council members who created this office because it was controversial at the time.”

Commissioner Dan Saltzman
“Dante, I want to thank you, the Commission on Disability, the Human Rights Commission, and the staff for really giving great legs to this office and getting things done.

Mayor Charlie Hales
“We’ve built some strength here and we need it because there’s lots of work to do. There are old issues of racism and injustice in our city and there are new ones, too, because Portland is becoming this amazing magnet for people from all over the world to move here. And we have to make sure that this is a just and open society for new Portlanders, just like we need to for those of us who grew up here.”

The 2014 Annual Report is available online at: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/oehr/article/522922. Printed copies are available at the Office of Equity and Human Rights, 421 SW 6th Ave. Suite 500, Portland.

For more information about the Office of Equity and Human Rights, please contact Jeff Selby at jeff.selby@portlandoregon.gov or 503.823.2173.

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Portland’s Community Engagement Liaison Program Recognized as 2015 Harvard Ash Center Bright Idea in Government

Photo of CELs

February 25, 2015

PORTLAND – The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, recognized today The City of Portland Community Engagement Liaison (CEL) Program as part of the 2015 Bright Ideas program. This year’s cohort includes 124 programs from all levels of government—school districts; county, city, state, and federal agencies; as well as public-private partnerships—that are at the forefront in innovative government action.

Portland’s CEL Program identifies civic-minded individuals from vulnerable and underserved neighborhoods and provides them with training in collaboration and advocacy skills, creating a link between their communities and the City government, and allowing City bureaus to provide greater public involvement opportunities to more Portlanders. The program initiated in The Office of Equity and Human Rights and is now housed in the Office of Neighborhood Involvement’s New Portlander Program.

“The Bright Ideas program demonstrates that often seemingly intractable problems can be creatively and capably tackled by small groups of dedicated, civic-minded individuals,” said Stephen Goldsmith, director of the Innovations in Government Program at the Ash Center. “As exemplified by this year’s Bright Ideas, making government work better doesn’t always require massive reforms and huge budgets. Indeed, we are seeing that, in many ways, an emphasis on efficiency and adaptability can have further-reaching effects than large-scale reforms.”

This is the fourth cohort recognized through the Bright Ideas program, an initiative of the broader Innovations in American Government Awards program. For consideration as a Bright Idea, programs must currently be in operation or in the process of launching and have sufficient operational resources and must be administered by one or more governmental entities; nonprofit, private sector, and union initiatives are eligible if operating in partnership with a governmental organization. Bright Ideas are showcased on the Ash Center’s Government Innovators Network, an online platform for practitioners and policymakers to share innovative public policy solutions.

About the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation
The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation advances excellence in governance and strengthens democratic institutions worldwide. Through its research, education, international programs, and government innovations awards, the Center fosters creative and effective government problem solving and serves as a catalyst for addressing many of the most pressing needs of the world’s citizens. For more information, visit www.ash.harvard.edu.

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Office of Equity and Human Rights Accepting Applications for Bureau Advisory Committee

We Want You

The Office of Equity and Human Rights’ Bureau Advisory Committee (BAC) was formed in January 2013 and is comprised of City of Portland staff and members of Portland’s diverse communities. Our office meets with the Bureau Advisory Committee (BAC) to assist with budget review and presentation to City Council. The BAC also advises the work of the bureau on an on-going basis.

We are looking for community members to fill one- or two-year volunteer terms, with a commitment of five meetings per year.

Download your application here: http://www.portlandoregon.gov/oehr/article/520156

Please contact Jeff Selby at jeff.selby@portlandoregon.gov or 503.823.2173 for details.


Center for the Study of Social Policy Recognizes Portland Equity Work

Brief Cover

February 6, 2015

PORTLAND — Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) recognizes The City of Portland’s equity work in its latest brief, “Aligning Resources and Results: Increasing Equity Through the Budget.”

CSSP examines President Obama’s Proposed 2016 Budget and features Portland as a model for using the power of the budget process to address equity issues.

The brief features the City’s Budget Equity Assessment Tool, part of a process developed by the Office of Equity and Human Rights. The tool guides bureau leaders and their Budget Advisory Committees to determine how budget requests or decisions benefit and/or burden communities, specifically communities of color and people with disabilities.

“We’re excited that our equity work is being recognized on a national level,” said Dante James, Office of Equity and Human Rights director.

The brief can be found here: http://www.cssp.org/policy/Aligning-Resources-and-Results-Increasing-Equity-Through-the-Budget.pdf

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Taxi / For-Hire Driver's Session

Header Graphic

Commissioner Steve Novick has convened the Private For-Hire Transportation Innovation Task Force to review and evaluate Portland’s private for-hire transportation (PFHT) industry.

The Task Force will provide guidance and recommendations to the Commissioner on how the industry should evolve and respond to new developments, including the entry of Transportation Network Companies.

It is critical that the City provide necessary safeguards and standards to protect consumers, ensure accessibility, and allow for a fair, competitive market for drivers and companies across all sectors of the PFHT industry.


 JOIN US FOR THE DRIVER'S LISTENING SESSION

The Office of Equity and Human Rights is hosting a Listening Session for drivers.
Please come and share your experiences, concerns, and ideas with the Task Force.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Doors open/coffee served: 8:30 – 9:00 a.m.
Listening session: 9:00 – 10:30 a.m.
Location: Portland Building, Room C • 1120 SW 5th Ave.

For more information, please contact Judith Mowry: judith.mowry@portlandoregon.gov • (503) 823-4431


OEHR Logo

To help ensure equal access to City programs, services and activities, the City of Portland will provide translation, reasonably modify policies/procedures and provide auxiliary aids/services/alternative formats to persons with disabilities. For accommodations, translations, complaints, and additional information, contact (503) 823-4431, use City TTY 503-823-6868, or use Oregon Relay Service: 711.


Office presents City Employee recommendations for Police to Council

Photo of Dante James and Chief Larry O'Dea

January 29, 2015

PORTLAND — The Director of Portland's Office of Equity and Human Rights, Dante James, presented a report to City Council on Wednesday about three listening sessions with City employees. On December 3, December 10, and January 7, approximately 200 City employees voluntarily came together during their lunch hours to discuss the aftermath of the Ferguson grand jury decision from an institutional perspective.

Topics of discussion revolved around: institutional and systemic racism; implicit bias; community/police relations; police training; the feeling by people of color of disempowerment and fear; as well as how these issues were created and fostered the tinderbox that exploded in the days following Ferguson.

Subsequent to Ferguson and the death of Michael Brown came other deaths in other cities that were high profile deaths of Black men or teenagers at the hands of police. The Office of Equity and Human Rights felt it important to provide a space for voices to be heard and frustrations to be expressed.

Here are the attendees' recommendations that James presented to Council:

Suggestions Specific to Police

Improve officer training

  • Bias training is critical: bias must be owned and faced
  • Have the courage to create conversations to talk specifically about fear and distrust on the part of both the community and the police
  • Continuing education for officers on bias, de-escalation techniques, and inter-personal skills, not just one-time sessions

Culture and Policy changes within the Police Bureau

  • Need to change policies about engagement and expectations of interactions
  • Internal zero tolerance policies – visibly holding officers accountable for behavior that is unacceptable
  • Create a culture where peer reporting does not lead to ostracizing 
  • Conduct psychological exams more often, instead of only upon hiring or after a police-involved shooting, in order to root out possible changes in officers’ psyches after several years on the job

Improve police and community interactions

    • Meet communities face-to-face and regularly (not only after incidents or at events). Engage in true community policing
    • Create requirements or incentives for police to live in communities they serve, e.g., Portland used to have a home-buying incentives program for officers
    • Create police/fire/ranger education programs and relationships for youth in schools and through grassroots efforts to better attract officers of color, not just depending on individual officers who do it on their own
    • Neighborhood structures, organizations or groups should be involved more in community policing

     Make better efforts to diversify the Police Bureau

    • Review criminal background check policies (e.g., if my cousin sold drugs years ago, it can prevent me from being hired by the city for public safety jobs)
    • Create a process where police work with Park Rangers to create a pipeline to becoming an officer; the police can benefit greatly from learning about rangers non-weapon carrying tactics

    Suggestions for All City Employees and Elected Officials

    • There should be an extension of a program to aggressively diversify the workforce. Every bureau has an Affirmative Action Plan.  Evaluate and report on them.
    • Hold managers/bureaus accountable for outcomes in hiring as well as outreach in order to hire more broadly
    • Cultural awareness in the workplace should be evaluated. Bureaus should conduct climate surveys to understand the impact of race at work.

    Portland Police Chief, Larry O'Dea, testified in support of the report and announced that two vital Police Bureau positions would be filled soon: an Equity and Diversity Program Manager (who begins next week) and an analyst who will focus entirely on stops data, specifically on criminal justice inequities and implicit bias.

    The Office produced a video about the first session, held on December 3, 2014:

     


    Introducing Black Male Achievement Portland

    We invite you to attend Black Male Achievement (BMA) Portland’s press conference on Monday January 26, 2015, at 12:30 p.m. on the site of the historic Self Enhancement Inc. Academy, located at 3920 North Kerby Ave. Mayor Charlie Hales will announce his and the City’s endorsement and introduce the BMA Steering Committee members, who will share details of the initiative.

    The City of Portland was selected as one of 11 cities to participate in the National League of Cities’ Black Male Achievement Initiative to improve outcomes for Black men and boys. The BMA is designed to address four specific focus areas: Education, Employment, Family Stability, and Criminal Justice.

    BMA Portland is an umbrella entity of over 20 organizations in the region represented by Black men that will act as convener, facilitator, policy guide, and collective voice to exert influence and push for change for the betterment of Black men and boys. A two-year process of community engagement and visioning was undertaken to gain feedback, clarity, and direction for the work.

    Housed in the Office of Equity and Human Rights within Mayor Hales’ portfolio, BMA works with officials in Multnomah County government, as well as with for-profit and non-profit entities to create access to jobs and mentoring. 

    Black Male Achievement Portland Steering Committee members are driven by a fierce urgency to create systemic change in local, county, and state government and beyond. BMA members have fresh approaches to move the needle in eliminating disparities between Black males and their peers.

    Date: Monday, January 26, 2015

    Time: 12:30 p.m.

    Location: Self Enhancement Incorporated Academy

    Address: 3920 North Kerby Avenue, Portland, OR 97227

    We hope that you will be able to join us. Please forward this to others who may be interested in supporting this effort.

    Respectfully,

    Black Male Achievement Portland Steering Committee

    For more information please visit http://www.portlandoregon.gov/oehr/bma


    City seeks members for DOJ settlement oversight board

    The Portland Human Rights Commission and Portland Commission on Disability call for applications to the Community Oversight Advisory Board. 

    Deadline: JANUARY 9, 2015

    The Community Oversight Advisory Board (“COAB”) is the group of individuals who live, work, or go to school in Portland who will monitor the implementation of the City of Portland’s settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice. The agreement calls for reform to Portland Police Bureau (PPB) policies and training, particularly related to interactions with people who have or are perceived to have mental illness. The COAB will be comprised of fifteen voting members and five advisory members from the Portland Police Bureau. The Compliance Officer Community Liaison (“COCL”) will chair the COAB and preside over COAB meetings.

    The Portland Commission on Disability (PCOD) and the Portland Human Rights Commission (HRC) will jointly appoint three community members to this board who have mental health expertise. PCOD and HRC seek applicants who are Qualified Mental Health Professionals (“QMHP”) or persons with 10 years lived experience caring for their own or others’ mental illness.

    For information and to apply please see: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/mayor/article/512484

    Frequently Asked Questions may be found here: http://www.portlandonline.com/shared/cfm/image.cfm?id=425435

    Also:

    You can find more information on the COAB in the Settlement Agreement here: http://www.portlandonline.com/shared/cfm/image.cfm?id=417899.

    You can find more general information on the Settlement Agreement here:http://www.portlandoregon.gov/police/62044.


    Office of Equity and Human Rights Hosts City Discussion on Ferguson

    December 8, 2014

    PORTLAND - The Office of Equity and Human Rights hosted a lunchtime conversation among City of Portland employees on December 3, 2014. The focus of the discussion was the institutional aspect of the tragic events in Ferguson, Missouri.

    As the discussion was unfolding, the New York Grand Jury decision not to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo was announced. The office will host another discussion this Wednesday at noon in the Portland Building,  Room C. All employees are welcome to attend (feel free to bring your lunch).

    The short video below shows highlights of the last session.


    Dante James' letter to City officials regarding Michael Brown Grand Jury Decision

    November 25, 2014

    Good morning,

    I feel compelled to write a note to those of us who are more connected to the work of racial equity than others. Last night’s decision was, and remains, difficult for many reasons, not the least of which is that a young man lost his life, and another’s will be forever changed. My concern is the potential that was lost from the beginning of Michael Brown’s life. Potential unavailable because of the history and present day oppressions and systems that make life difficult for many young Black men. My concern is that Michael Brown is being born every day, into the same systems and oppressions that make life difficult. My concern is that being a Black man, purely in and of itself, causes fear. My concern is that this will be a moment in time, not a movement, not a watershed moment that mandates the deconstruction of a system that is racist. The outcomes, the statistics, the deaths, the imprisonment, the inequality and inequity….. their stories are incontrovertible. Yet they don’t seem to be enough. What will be enough? 

    All of that said, I have to believe that the work I do, the work we all do, is making a difference. I must believe it or I can’t keep doing it. We have seen change here within the city structure and institution of the City of Portland. Small change is still change. Small change adds up to larger change.  You, we, are making a difference. I am grateful for the work you do. Thank you.

    Dante

    Dante J. James, Esq.

     


    Mayor makes equity a priority for Fiscal Year 2015-16 City budget

    October 21, 2014

    PORTLAND – Mayor Charlie Hales announced last week to City Bureau Directors that equity is one of three specific priorities in preparing the City’s Fiscal Year 2015-16 budget.

    Hales said he will focus any new General Fund resources on requests that make measureable progress in one or more of the following areas:

    • Equity and Opportunity: bolstering economic and housing opportunity for all Portlanders, as well as equity in service delivery
    • Complete Neighborhoods: extending Portland’s vaunted livability to more areas of the City
    • Emergency Preparedness: equipping bureau operations and our citizens to better withstand a disaster

    “I am excited and encouraged that Mayor Hales is prioritizing equity in the City’s budget process,” said Dante James, Office of Equity and Human Rights director. “Tying equity to City bureaus’ budgets ensures that leaders are considering the impacts of their programs and policies on all Portlanders. It’s another positive step to institutionalizing this work within Portland city government.”

    Effective last fiscal year, bureaus are required to use a Budget Equity Assessment Tool developed by the Office of Equity and Human Rights in preparing their budgets. The tool guides bureau leaders and their Budget Advisory Committees to determine how budget requests or decisions benefit and/or burden communities, specifically communities of color and people with disabilities.

    Portland’s Office of Equity and Human Rights provides education and technical support to City staff and elected officials, leading to recognition and removal of systemic barriers to fair and just distribution of resources, access, and opportunity; starting with issues of race and disability.

    For more information, please contact Jeff Selby at jeff.selby@portlandoregon.gov.

    # # #


    Community members are encouraged to welcome visiting students at Africa House tomorrow

    October 16, 2014

    PORTLAND – Fifteen high school students from Ivory Coast, Congo, and Niger will be hosted by The Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization’s Africa House, The Office of Equity and Human Rights, and Portland Human Rights Commission tomorrow. The students are in Portland to learn about entrepreneurship and community service.

    The public is invited to meet and welcome the students, and to share insight to Portland’s unique “do-it-yourself” business spirit and community service culture.

    The event takes place tomorrow, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at IRCO Africa House, located at 631 NE 102nd Ave.

    The students visited Grant High School today as part of their trip, organized by the U.S. State Department and World Affairs Council of Oregon. A scheduled visit to Jesuit High School was cancelled by the school out of concern for the Ebola Virus.

    “While the fear of Ebola is understandable, these students have been screened by the Centers for Disease Control and are being monitored by the Multnomah County Health Department,” said Aimee Samara, Human Rights Commission chair. “It is important that we honor their human rights and support their international educational experience.”

    The Human Rights Commission is guided by the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states, “Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.”

    For more information, please contact Jeff Selby at jeff.selby@portlandoregon.gov

    # # #


    Event to raise awareness of and funds for Ebola victims in Liberia and Sierra Leone

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    September 12, 2014 

    PORTLAND – The Oregon Association for Liberia and Sierra Leone Community are organizing an event to raise awareness of the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa and to collect donations for the relief effort. The event takes place Friday, September 19, from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at First Unitarian Church, 1034 SW 13th Ave, Portland, OR 97205. Organizers will share insight on epidemic conditions in West Africa and hope to collect donations in kind (medical gloves and masks for medical personnel, for example) and financial donations to support Ebola victims and families in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

    “The Ebola epidemic in West Africa is a global health issue,” said Koffi Dessou from the City of Portland Office of Equity and Human Rights. “This is an opportunity for city governments, county governments, Oregon communities, and international communities to come together to stop the spread of the virus and support the victims.”

    According to Oregon Association for Liberia, doctors and nurses in the region were exposed to the deadly Ebola virus and are dying mainly due to insufficient medical protective gear, including gloves and masks. Although Doctors Without Borders is onsite and equipment is provided, the need is still huge and additional donations are necessary. An economic crisis has arisen from the epidemic as towns and rural areas now need money to buy bottled water to avoid contaminated sources.

    Government agencies and community groups have come together to sponsor Friday’s event, including the Office of Equity and Human Rights, Multnomah County Health Department, Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO), Africa House, and First Unitarian Church.

    For more information, please contact Jeff Selby at jeff.selby@portlandoregon.gov.

     # # #


    Office of Equity and Human Rights invites public comment on Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Title II Transition Plan

    August 13, 2014

     

    PORTLAND – In an effort to make City of Portland facilities and programs accessible to all, the City has embarked on a comprehensive process to create the Americans with Disabilities (ADA) Title II Transition Plan. The Plan identifies barriers which impede access to City facilities that are open to the public. The Office of Equity and Human Rights ADA Title II Transition team invites the community to review and comment on the Draft Transition Plan.

     

    There are several ways to get more information and provide comments:

    1. View the materials online at http://www.portlandoregon.gov/oehr/adaplan and provide comment on the provided electronic form.


    2. Attend an informational open house and provide comment:

          • Tuesday, August 19, 4:00-6:30 p.m. at Independent Living Resources 1839 NE Couch St.
          • Tuesday, August 26, 12:30-2:30 p.m. at The Portland Building 1120 SW 5th Ave. Room C
          • Thursday, September 4, 4:00-6:00 p.m. at East Portland Community Center 740 SE 106th Ave.

    3. View the materials at one of the following locations:

    • Office of Equity and Human Rights, 421 SW 6th Ave. Suite 500
    • Midland Library, 805 SE 122nd Ave.
    • St. Johns Library, 7510 N Charleston Ave.

    “The Transition Plan is an important step in making our City more accessible to all Portlanders,” said Mayor Charlie Hales. “I am pleased that the City of Portland has put focus and funding toward this equity process.”

     

    City facilities were surveyed based on compliance with the current 2010 ADA standards. The City’s ADA Title II Transition Plan team surveyed 342 unique facilities, identified roughly 25,000 individual barriers, and has scheduled their removal over time.

     

    To help ensure equal access to City programs, services and activities, the City of Portland will provide translation, reasonably modify policies/procedures, and provide auxiliary aids/services/alternative formats to persons with disabilities. For accommodations, translations, complaints, and additional information, contact 503-823-4072, use City TTY 503-823-6868, or use Oregon Relay Service: 711.

     

    Portland’s Office of Equity and Human Rights provides education and technical support to City staff and elected officials, leading to recognition and removal of systemic barriers to fair and just distribution of resources, access, and opportunity; starting with issues of race and disability.

     

    For more information, please contact Jeff Selby at jeff.selby@portlandoregon.gov.

     

    # # #


    City of Portland removes employment application barriers for people with criminal records

    July 9, 2014

     

    PORTLAND – The City of Portland has removed language from its employment applications that states applicants may be required to sign a criminal history statement. Questions about criminal background, if relevant to a position, would be asked later in the hiring process.

     

    The statements formerly included on City applications created a barrier for ex-offenders, giving many the perception that a criminal history could prevent them from gaining government employment with the City of Portland.

     

    “This is a win-win,” said Mayor Charlie Hales. “This removes a barrier to employment with the City, which will attract a more diverse pool of applicants to City jobs—one step in addressing the collective impact of crime. Stable employment significantly reduces recidivism rates, building stability and breaking the cycle of incarceration for people trying to get back on their feet.” 

     

    The City joins more than 60 U.S. jurisdictions, including Multnomah County, in removing the barrier to employment for formerly incarcerated people. The nationwide campaign to remove these types of barriers is commonly called, “Ban the Box,” which refers to the question on employment applications that asks whether the applicant has been convicted of a crime or been incarcerated.

     

    “We can credit this policy change to the Governing for Racial Equity Conference that our office hosted in March,” said Dante James, Office of Equity and Human Rights Bureau Director. “After attending the conference, City Human Resources leaders took to heart the chilling outcome that these types of questions can have on former offenders during the job application process.” 

     

    Portland’s Office of Equity and Human Rights provides education and technical support to City staff and elected officials, leading to recognition and removal of systemic barriers to fair and just distribution of resources, access, and opportunity; starting with issues of race and disability.

     

    For more information, please contact Jeff Selby at jeff.selby@portlandoregon.gov.

     

    # # #


    Americans With Disabilities Act Celebration

    Pcod logo

    The City of Portland and community partners are hosting an event to celebrate the 24th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. This family friendly event will include live entertainment, an open mic session, interactive activities, multi-ethnic snacks, speakers—including City of Portland Commissioner Amanda Fritz—and a birthday cake for the ADA’s big 24th! This event is free and open to the public.

     

    Where: Matt Dishman Community Center, 77 NE Knott St., Portland

    When: July 26, 2014, 2:00-5:00 p.m.

     

    ASL Interpretation and captioning will be provided. Please direct any questions or comments to admin@portlandisability.com

     

    To help ensure equal access to City programs, services and activities, the City of Portland will reasonably modify polices/procedures and provide auxiliary aids/services to persons with disabilities. For accommodation requests, call 503-823-4432, TTY/TDD 503-823-6868, or Oregon Relay Service at 711 or 1-800-735-2900.

     

    Please request accommodations three to five working days prior to the meeting.


    City of Portland Human Rights Commission Applauds Decision on Marriage Equality

    May 19, 2014

     

    PORTLAND – On Monday afternoon, the City of Portland Human Rights Commission (HRC) joined millions awaiting the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision on marriage equality in Oregon. Based on the long-awaited outcome, the HRC stopped to applaud Judge Michael McShane’s ruling, deeming the ban on gay marriage unconstitutional.

    As a diverse body of leaders who represents all segments of the community including LGBTQ, the HRC sees this decision as one that sets Oregon apart from states that have yet to take a stance on the issue. HRC Chair and LGBTQ Ally, Sonji Young stated, “To love is by far the greatest commitment that any of us can make in our lives.  By removing the legal barriers, all of our fellow citizens can pursue happiness, regardless of their personal preference.”  Young added, “Today’s decision demonstrates that love is indeed a human right. We all deserve to declare our love through marriage and have it recognized.”

    HRC Commissioner Sam Sachs, who has long been a member of Portland’s social justice community agreed with Young, exclaiming, “Oregon has done the right thing!”

    The HRC works to eliminate discrimination and bigotry, to strengthen inter-group relationships, and to foster greater understanding, inclusion, and justice for those who live, work, study, worship, travel and play in the City of Portland.

    For more information, please contact Jeff Selby at jeff.selby@portlandoregon.gov.

     

    # # #


    Office of Equity and Human Rights Community Engagement Liaisons Program helps grow community involvement at City Budget Hearing

    CELs waiting to testifyMay 16, 2014

    Office of Equity and Human Rights Community Engagement Liaisons Program helps grow community involvement at City Budget Hearing

    The City Budget Public Hearing on May 15, 2014 featured many community voices never before heard at previous years’ sessions. Answering a request from the City Budget Office, the Office of Equity and Human Rights New Portlander Programs’ Community Engagement Liaisons (CELs) helped gather members of several immigrant and refugee communities to testify before City Council.

     

    Community members included:

    • Zomi elders and activists led by Rev. Zam King Mang of Zomi Association of United States
    • Iraqi Kurd, Sunni, Shi’a, and Christian Portlanders led by Dr. Baher Butti of Iraqi Society of Oregon
    • Portland’s West and Central African elders and activists led by Jerome Adibonou of Togo Community of Oregon
    • Pacific Island (Tongan and Chuuk) American elders and activists led by Kolini Fusitua of Tongan American Resource Center of Oregon

    The CELs Program is designed to assist bureaus in their outreach efforts to underrepresented communities in Portland. Photos from the hearing may be found here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/124652604@N07/sets/72157644705353794/

     

    More information on the CELs Program is available at: http://www.portlandoregon.gov/oehr/article/482264


    How diverse is the City of Portland workforce?

    Link to videoMay 13, 2014

    How diverse is the City of Portland workforce? In response to community requests, the Office of Equity and Human Rights teamed with City partners to develop the online Demographics Dashboard.

    In this video, Office of Equity and Human Rights Assistant Bureau Director, Joe Wahl, says the interactive Dashboard gives community members and City leaders valuable information now with more data layers planned for the near future.

    The Demographics Dashboard can be found on the Office of Equity and Human Rights website, by clicking the “I want to view City of Portland Demographics” button.


    Slavic Community Fair this Thursday

    April 21, 2014

     

    The Slavic Community Fair this Thursday presents an informal setting to inform the Slavic Community and to allow community members to let City representatives know their concerns about Police and local government.


    Representatives from law enforcement, city government and much more will be on hand.

     

    Topics include:

    • Who do I call to report a crime?
    • Where do I go to get information about crime in my neighborhood?
    • What if I’m not sure a crime has been committed?
    • How do I recognize drug activity?
    • What do I do if I am interested in a career in law enforcement?
    • When is it okay to pass a school bus?


    Thursday, April 24, 2014
    6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
    Portland Community College—Southeast Campus
    Mt. Tabor Room
    2305 SE 82nd Ave.


    Download English language flyer here.

    Download Russian language flyer here.




    Slavic Fair (Russian)

    Download (PDF Document, 101kb)

    Slavic Fair (English)

    Download (PDF Document, 56kb)

    Free Legal Counseling Event

    The Human Trafficking Task Force of the Portland Human Rights Commission is co-sponsoring a Free Legal Counseling Event on Sunday, April 27, from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the Sauvie Island Grange, located at 14443 NW Charlton Rd. Portland, OR 97231

     

    The program will provide free legal counseling to anyone who believes they have been a victim of workplace related crime, including human trafficking. Most trafficking victims do not “self-identify” as such. Thus, an effective way to identify and assist trafficking victims and survivors is to provide legal counseling to those who believe they have been victimized in other related ways, including wage theft, workplace violence or threat of violence, or coercion to work by threats related to immigration status. Program participants will have access volunteer immigration attorneys and interpreters.

     

    The program is co-sponsored by Oregonians Against Human Trafficking (OATH), the HRC Human Trafficking Task Force, the Oregon Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, Immigration Counseling Service, and Catholic Charities.

     

    View flyers at the links below: 

    Español: http://www.portlandoregon.gov/oehr/article/485625

    English: http://www.portlandoregon.gov/oehr/article/485626


    OEHR Hosts Governing for Racial Equity Conference

    March 27, 2014Dante photo

    PORTLAND - Portland's Office of Equity and Human Rights (OEHR) hosted the Third Annual Governing for Racial Equity (GRE) Conference on March 25th and 26th at the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel Portland.

    Multnomah County Office of Diversity and Equity, King County Equity and Social Justice, City of Seattle Race and Social Justice Initiative, and San Francisco Human Rights Commission were partners on the planning committee.

    The conference for government employees and elected officials attracted nearly 450 participants from the Pacific Northwest as well as jurisdictions in New York, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Iowa, Wisconsin, California, and Virginia. Workshops and presentations focused on the history of racism and on incorporating a racial equity lens for training, policy development, health, transportation, planning and other governmental functions.

    OEHR Director, Dante James said, “This was planned as a regional conference, but as you can see from our attendees here today—this has turned out to be so much more.”

    Featured speakers included Walidah Imarisha, Neva Walker, and Multnomah County Chair, Marissa Madrigal.

    The purpose of the annual conference is two-fold: to educate participants and to build a network of government jurisdictions working to achieve racial equity.

    The GRE Network works to eliminate institutional and structural racism, as they are the root causes of racial inequities. Our goals are to strengthen alliances, build organizational and institutional skills and commitment, share promising practices and develop and implement policies that promote racial equity.

     

    GRE photo

    Walidah Imarisha

    Africa House

    Comm. Fritz

    Lew Frederick

     

     

     


    Government workers from around the U.S. get brief lesson in Oregon's checkered past


    Racial equity: Hundreds of government employees, elected officials descend on Portland for equity conference


    Human Rights Commission Presents Annual Report to Council

    Kyle Busse and Linda McKim-BellMarch 12, 2014

     

    PORTLAND - The City of Portland Human Rights Commission 2012-13 Annual Report was presented to City Council on March 12, 2014.

     

    Human Rights Commissioners Kyle Busse and Linda McKim-Bell presented the report and received feedback from City Commissioners and public testimony from community members.

     

    The Annual Report can be found here.


    Human Rights Commission Announces Vacancy

    March 3, 2014


    PORTLAND - The Human Rights Commission seeks to recommend one appointee to serve a partial term beginning in late April, 2014. Due to staggered term appointments, the term ends in October, 2014. City Council confirms all appointments to the Human Rights Commission.

     

    Members are expected to participate in all monthly meetings (or pre-arrange absences) typically held on the first Wednesday of the month. These meetings normally run about three hours.

     

    Commissioners are also asked to participate in at least one sub-committee or special project work. Sub-committee or special projects do require attending additional meeting, and performing tasks, outside of the regular monthly Commission meetings. Additional meetings of the Commission are held as needed to respond to events, conduct hearings and forums, or extend the work of the Commission.

     

    The Commission encourages applications from diverse communities as well as youth and students.

    This is a volunteer, unpaid position. Please share this with your networks.

     

    Applications can be found below:

    PDF: http://www.portlandoregon.gov/oehr/article/472698

    MS Word: http://www.portlandoregon.gov/oehr/article/472697

     


    Governing for Racial Equity Conference 2014

    GRE LogoPORTLAND - Portland's Office of Equity and Human Rights is co-sponsoring the Governing for Racial Equity Conference on March 25th and 26th at the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel Portland.

     

    The GRE Network is a regional partnership of government jurisdictions working to achieve racial equity. We work to eliminate institutional and structural racism, as they are the root causes of racial inequities. Our goals are to strengthen alliances, build organizational and institutional skills and commitment, share promising practices and develop and implement policies that promote racial equity.

     

    The Conference will also feature workshops and presentations on incorporating a racial equity lens for training, policy development, health, transportation, planning and more.

     

    Elected leaders are invited to enroll in a facilitated Executive Session to discuss the opportunities and challenges of governing for racial equity.

    The Conference will culminate with the official launch of the GRE Network.

     

    Government employees and elected officials from around the United States have registered.

     

    Registration ends Thursday, March 20th. Don't miss this event! Registration information can be found here.

     

    The Keynote Presentation featuring Neva Walker is open to the public for free.

     
    Neva Walker is the Executive Director of San Francisco’s Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth, and will present ”Inside/Outside Strategies for Community and Government Partnerships for Racial Justice.”

    The keynote will be held at the Doubletree by Hilton Portland 1000 NE Multnomah Street Portland, Oregon 97232 on March 25, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

     

    Community members are invited to register for free at this link: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/571338

     


    Introducing the Community Engagement Liaisons (CELs) Program


    City Seeks Compliance Officer, Community Liaison


    The Portland Observer: Dante James, Change Agent


    Portland Human Rights Commission Urges Presence of Community’s Voice And Continued City Council Response in Police Accountability Settlement Agreement

    February 17, 2014

    For Immediate Release

     

    PORTLAND – In light of the forthcoming Fairness Hearing on the Department of Justice settlement agreement with the City of Portland and the Portland Police Bureau scheduled for February 18, 2014, the Portland Human Rights Commission (HRC) calls for strategic community involvement as the extent of the settlement process continues and as the implementation of the agreement moves forward.

    During the hearing on Tuesday, Judge Michael Simon will call for testimony from individuals and community organizations to determine whether the agreement is fair, adequate and reasonable. The agreement in question by Judge Michael Simon was initially reached between the City of Portland and the Department of Justice, following the Department of Justice’s investigation into the Portland Police Bureau’s use of force. The Fairness Hearing will be just the first of many opportunities for the community to play an active role in holding the Portland Police Bureau accountable for its actions as implementation begins.

    As a city-appointed commission whose responsibilities include advising City Council and bringing forward the voices of the community, the HRC realizes that ongoing input and collaboration will be required if those voices are to be heard and reflected during implementation. HRC Chair, Sonji Young says, “The Department of Justice settlement is no different than any other situation that impacts members of our city’s diverse community.” Young added, “Community members should expect to have their voices be present and weighed throughout any and all processes that impact their well being."

    The HRC believes that participation of all segments of the community is required if concerns are to be amplified and elevated to action. Local organizations have hosted public forums aimed at answering the community’s questions about the agreement. Having attended such forums, the HRC hopes to continue to hear directly from community members and call attention to the expressed suggestions or concerns that they raise. Most importantly, HRC will encourage City Council to consider emerging concerns raised by citizens and organizations during Tuesday’s Fairness Hearing and requests that City Council exercise their option to discuss and request changes to the agreement, as highlighted in paragraph 187 of the agreement.

    The Portland Human Rights Commission (HRC) works to eliminate discrimination and bigotry, to strengthen inter-group relationships, and to foster greater understanding, inclusion, and justice for those who live, work, study, worship, travel and play in the City of Portland.

    For more information, please contact Aimee Samara at saysamara7@gmail.com

     

    # # #


    Human Rights Commission Encourages Community Members to Participate in Upcoming Forums and to Testify at Feb 18 Hearing on Police Accountability

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    January 27, 2014

     

    PORTLAND – The Portland Human Rights Commission (HRC) believes that Portland can reach its goal of shaping a police bureau that models community policing that serves everyone. To that end, the HRC encourages all community members to testify at a Fairness Hearing on February 18, 2014 at Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse, 1000 SW 3rd Ave. (Courtroom 13B) at 9:00 a.m., if they have experienced what they consider unreasonable use of force by members of the PPB, or if they can testify to unreasonable use of force used against a friend or family member.

     

    The Albina Ministerial Alliance (AMA) Coalition for Justice and Police Reform has also organized several community forums in preparation for the Fairness Hearing:

    • Tuesday, January 28 • 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. • First Unitarian Church • 1011 SW 12th Ave.
    • Saturday, February 8 • 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.• St Johns Community Center • 8427 N Central St.
    • Thursday, February 13 • 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. • Rosewood Community Center • 16126 SE Stark St.

    If community members cannot attend these events, the AMA Coalition is available to help you with preparing testimony for the hearing or to send to Judge Michael H. Simon.

     

    Background:

    In 2012 the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division and United States Attorney's Office for the District of Oregon (collectively "DOJ") reported on their investigation of the Portland Police Bureau’s (PPB) use of force, revealing the PPB “… engages in a pattern or practice of unnecessary or unreasonable force during interactions with people who have or are perceived to have mental illness.” The U.S. then sued the City of Portland based on those findings. Intending to remedy the issues outlined in the DOJ findings, Council adopted a Settlement Agreement among the City of Portland, the Portland Police Association (PPA), and the US Department of Justice (DOJ). Following that, Federal Judge Michael Simon set a “Fairness Hearing” to allow the community to weigh in on whether the Agreement is "fair, adequate and reasonable.”

     

    HRC Considerations:

    1. The HRC recognizes the vital importance public participation and in this instance we are specifically guided by Article 21 (1) of the by UN Declaration of Human Rights: “Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.” Community testimony at the Fairness Hearing is important toward the process of strengthening the DOJ Agreement; a rare opportunity to improve police accountability in Portland.
    2. The organizers of these events, members of the Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition for Justice and Police Reform (AMA Coalition), have been working for ten years toward significant change in use of force policy and practices of the Portland Police Bureau, and they were granted "enhanced amicus" (friend of the court) status to the DOJ's lawsuit. They have designed these forums as a resource to community members in advance of the Fairness Hearing, to explain the purpose of the Fairness Hearing to the community and to provide support for testifying. This may include sending written or video testimony to Judge Simon for community members who cannot make the hearing date.
    3. The HRC is supportive of strengthening the Agreement in order to obtain meaningful changes that make encounters with police safer for people with mental illness and to empower Portland’s Police officers to serve more effectively and protect civil rights. While the DOJ investigation did not address use of force disparities based on race, the HRC also recognizes that many of these same PPB practices are experienced disproportionately by people of color, calling for increased attention around use of force related to race.

    For more information on the forums, please see the AMA Coalition website: www.albinaministerialcoalition.org

     

    The Portland HRC works to eliminate discrimination and bigotry, to strengthen inter-group relationships, and to foster greater understanding, inclusion, and justice for those who live, work, study, worship, travel and play in the City of Portland.

     

    #     #     #


    KBOO Talks Community Policing

    Photo of SGT Doris PaisleyKBOO Radio Host, Lisa Loving, interviewed two generations of Portland Police officers on January 22. Sgt. Doris Paisley and soon-to-be Officer Brianne Paisley joined Loving and Ronault LS (Polo) Catalani for a discussion of community policing.

     

    Sgt. Paisley has partnered with Catalani (who runs the Office of Equity and Human Rights New Portlander Programs) on many community policing initiatives and has gained enormous respect and affection from Portland’s far eastside immigrant and refugee communities. Her daughter, Brianne, will be sworn in to the Portland Police Bureau on February 13.

     

    Sgt. Paisley is the daughter of a Nikkei (Japanese community) immigrant mother.


    Ronault "Polo" Catalani Honored by "Know Your City"

    Comics for Change logoOn December 12, 2013, Ronault “Polo” Catalani form the Office of Equity and Human Rights New Portlanders Program, was honored at a release party at Darcelle XV Showplace. Comics for Change! Illustrated Stories From Oregon’s Front Lines, a Know Your City project, features a series of ten comics, each telling the story of an Oregon activist.

    Polo was selected for his 30 years of civic activism and assisting in integrating immigrant and refugee families into the life of our city.

    In addition to Polo, the comic project honored:

    Alex Brown
    Walter Cole
    Dan Handelman
    Cheryl Johnson
    Paul Knauls
    Ibrahim Mubarak
    Genny Nelson
    Kathleen Saadat
    Wilbur Slockish

    Polo said he is really a community facilitator:

    “While our family is honored by writer Lauren Hudgins' and cartoonist Asher Crew's superhero characterization, everyone knows that my work is setting the kitchen table where Portland’s real heavy-lifters sit and solve problems. “Knowing your City” means knowing this, and knowing them. Thank you Mark, Amanda, and the Know Your City board for urging Portland toward understanding this, and making Portland a bigger Us.”


    Human Rights Commission Recommends Postponement of Vote on IPR Code Changes

    December 17, 2013

     

    Dear City Council:
     

    The Human Rights Commission (“HRC”) supports the efforts of the Independent Police Review (“IPR”) to strengthen the oversight system of the Portland Police Bureau (“PPB”) and the discussions regarding code changes scheduled for December 18th.

    The HRC understands that during the upcoming fairness hearing with District Court Judge Michael Simon, members of the public will be invited to weigh in on the Settlement Agreement (“Agreement”) between the City and the Department of Justice, and that this hearing will include options for participation that amplify accessibility for community members.

    Considering the crucial role that the IPR system plays in the Agreement, as well as the important need to maximize community participation in this process, we recommend that voting on any IPR code changes be postponed until after the fairness hearing.

    To help address community concerns related to unnecessary use of force as well as tensions that exist between the PPB and Portlanders, we believe the community should play a central role in both developing and managing community oversight systems.  Postponing the vote until after the fairness hearing would be a positive step in that direction.

    Respectfully Yours,

    Kyle Busse

    Chair, Portland Human Rights Commission


    Office of Equity and Human Rights urges Portland Police to reinforce professional behavior in light of recent racial slur allegation

    The Director of City of Portland’s Office of Equity and Human Rights (OEHR), Dante J. James, is urging Portland Police Bureau (PPB) to respond to recent reports in The Portland Mercury and The Oregonian as an opportunity for daily training and reminders. The newspapers reported that a Portland Police Officer used the word, “nigger,” during an interaction with a Black community member on October 5, 2013.

     

    OEHR commends PPB for racial sensitivity training given to Command Staff and Sergeants that was organized by Portland’s Community and Police Relations Committee’s training subcommittee. For street officers who interact with community members every day, James recommends that PPB use this recent racial slur allegation as an opportunity to discuss professionalism at every roll call, in every training session, and in off-line discussions.

     

    James reinforced to PPB leadership that the word, “nigger” can never be used by a White officer in interactions with someone on the street. He stated, “People will argue that it is a double standard because some Black people use the word. This is not an argument about who gets to use the word. This is an opportunity for PPB to remind its staff that ANY pejorative of this type is unacceptable. This is about professionalism, plain and simple, and this is the conversation that needs to happen.”

     

    Chief Mike Reese responded positively to James and noted that he will be discussing this matter with PPB Leadership Staff immediately.


    Ronault "Polo" Catalani Earns MET Leadership Award

    Photo of Polo and WajdiOn November 9th 2013, the Muslim Educational Trust (MET) celebrated its Annual Award/Auction/Appreciation Night by recognizing dedicated individuals for their positive contribution to MET and the community at large.

    Ronault "Polo" Catalani from the Office of Equity and Human Rights was honored for his community leadership and New Portlander Program projects.

     

    Others honored at the event: 

    MET Lifetime Achievement Award:

    • Jahed Sukhun, MET Vice President

    Friends of MET Award:

    • Denny Doyle, Mayor - City of Beaverton

    • Don Mazziotti,Community Development Director - City of Beaverton

    Leadership Award:

    • Mohamed Kabira, President - Masjid Al-Furqan

    • Imtiaz Khan, President - Masjid As-Saber

    • Diaa Eldin Nassar,Vice President - Intel Muslim Employee Group

     

     


     


    50 Years in 10 Charts


    Flyer Targets People with Disabilities

    People with disabilities are now the target of a hate group in the Portland area. Neighborhoods are being littered with this handbill attacking people with disabilities who receive public assistance. With an underlying tone of violence, this vigilante attack states that people's names are being posted where they can be seen by taxpayers. The author suggests that receiving benefits makes people with disabilities a threat to the republic.


    The Portland Commission on Disability requests that anyone who has received or seen this flyer to please report it so they may track it. Thanks to Human Rights Commissioner, Linda McKim-Bell for bringing this to the Commission's attention.

     

    Flyer targeting people with disabilities

     

     

     

    UPDATE: Flyers have reportedly been received in the following neighborhoods: Irvington, Arbor Lodge, SW Hills, Laurelhurst, and Eliot.


    OEHR admits error and will recognize Capt. Mark Kruger

    PORTLAND – The Office of Equity and Human Rights (OEHR) will present a “We Are Portland” award to Portland Police Bureau’s Capt. Mark Kruger on August 13, 2013. On July 26, 2013, 84 civic activists and City employees were honored for their work in furthering the City of Portland’s immigrant integration initiatives and Capt. Kruger was slated to receive the award. When a community opinion leader contacted OEHR staff the evening before the event expressing concern about past charges and allegations against Capt. Kruger, the decision was made to ask Kruger to accept his award at a different time and venue.


    “Postponing the award presentation to Capt. Kruger was my judgment call based on the last minute concern of a respected community leader. It was ultimately not the right decision,” said Dante James, OEHR Bureau Director. “Any concerns about his past should be addressed in a separate venue. We will recognize Capt. Kruger for his current work and dedication to our city’s immigrant and refugee community with our apologies for the delay.”


    OEHR respects community concerns about Portland Police Bureau and has offered to facilitate a public discussion to build understanding and reconciliation between the Police and community members.


    Capt. Kruger has fostered working relationships with Portland’s newcomer community elders and activists, and has partnered with OEHR’s New Portlander Programs in presenting the “Know your Tenant Rights” and “Know Your Police” workshop series. The programs brought 40 refugee tenants with critical residence and neighborhood livability issues into the East Precinct for trainings on Oregon tenant rights, Portland Police crime prevention, and law enforcement services.


    Humane treatment of homeless campers

    PORTLAND – The City of Portland’s Office of Equity and Human Rights (OEHR) is working with Mayor Charlie Hales’ office to help ensure that the process of moving homeless campers from the vicinity of City Hall is handled humanely.

    “We are concerned with the well-being and human rights of the homeless and do not want the public to conflate homelessness with criminal behavior,” said OEHR Bureau Director, Dante J. James. “We hope to get those who are homeless connected to services and organizations that might be able to help—in the short term. Obviously, we hope the City can also help create long-term solutions to address homelessness.”

    Members of the non-profit organization, JOIN, have been on hand at City Hall to advise the homeless campers about services and housing options.

    OEHR is also concerned about the safety and accessibility of the area around City Hall, specifically for people with disabilities. With homeless campers on the sidewalks, people who use wheelchairs or canes have issues navigating safely near City buildings.

    The Office of Equity and Human Rights (OEHR) focuses on removing systemic barriers to fair and just distribution of resources, access, and opportunity. This focus includes ensuring that City of Portland workplaces and events are inclusive and welcoming.


    We Are Portland Awards

    2012 We Are Portland AwardsThe Office of Equity and Human Rights (OEHR) hosts the Annual "We Are Portland" Awards on Friday, July 26, 2013 at Immigrant & Refugee Community Organization (IRCO) on 10301 NE Glisan St  Portland, OR. The public is invited to attend the ceremony which runs from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m.


    The "We Are Portland" Awards honor civic activists and City employees who have worked to further the City of Portland’s immigrant integration initiatives. Special recognition will be given to Commissioner Amanda Fritz and retiring East Police Precinct Commander, Michael Lee.


    "Commissioner Fritz is widely seen by immigrant and refugee communities as championing their concerns," said OEHR New Portlander Program Coordinator, Ronault "Polo" Catalani. "And Commander Lee has opened his precinct’s doors to newcomer families by facilitating community policing sessions and building working relationships with ethnic minority elders and activists."


    Portland’s Office of Equity and Human Rights' New Portlander Program was recently invited to New York CIty by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to present its best-practices models at the Mayor's First Convening of Cities for Immigrant Integration.


    Commissioner Fritz Addresses Hearing Loss Assoc. of America Conference

    Commissioner Amanda FritzAmanda Fritz, Portland City Commissioner, spoke at the opening of the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) 2013 Convention on Thursday, June 27. She welcomed the attendees to the City of Roses and cited a number of advances for people with disabilities in Portland which included the Model Employer Plan and a captioning plan for all online and cablecast digital media.

     

    Following a receptive applause from the audience, the incoming HLAA executive director, Anna Gilmore Hall, said, “There was a reason we picked Portland and that’s it,” referring to the proactive actions made by the city in regards to disability rights and being the HLAA’s choice for its national convention this year.


    Chief Mike Reese Announces Command Changes to the Portland Police Bureau


    OEHR Supports City Investigation

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    Mayor Hales Announces Bureau Assignments


    ENGAGE "Hear our Voices!"

    IRCO Engage photoIRCO’s Diversity and Civic Leadership program presented results of the ENGAGE "Hear our Voices!" survey of more than 250 members from 25 different ethnic communities around the Portland Metro area. The group presented their findings to government leaders and public involvement staff at City Hall on May 4, 2013.


    Somali Community Center Opens

    Somali CenterThe Somali Community Center opened on April 27th, 2013. It is the first center that represents all Somali based organizations in Oregon.
     
    (left to right: Commissioner Steve Novick, Abdisalan Muse, Musse Olol, U.S. Attorney S. Amanda Marshall, OEHR Director Dante J. James, and Shamsa Abdurahman)

    Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in Portland

    Council photoAPI members of OEHR and BHR pose with City Council as Mayor Hales proclaims May as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in Portland on May 16, 2013