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421 SW 6th Avenue, Suite 500, Portland, OR 97204
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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 email@example.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.
June 9, 2014
PORTLAND – The City of Portland’s Office of Equity and Human Rights (OEHR) is pleased to announce that Kenya Budd has joined the team as Program Coordinator. Budd will be responsible for staffing and helping guide the Human Rights Commission and Citywide Equity Committee, as well as becoming a member of the Equity Training Team.
“Kenya’s diversity and equity experience make her a great fit for our team,” said Dante James, OEHR Bureau Director. “I believe her knowledge and facilitation skills will help move the Human Rights Commission and Citywide Equity Committee forward in their work, and we’re excited to have her on board.”
Budd comes to OEHR as an Army veteran, trainer, facilitator, and mediator in private practice. She has focused her diversity and equity work on creating safe and respectful conversation, where race, ability, gender, and privilege can be explored in a paradigm that promotes key concepts found in Cognitive Behavioral Theory, conflict resolution, motivational interviewing techniques, and transformative facilitation models.
Budd holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Deaf Education from University of Maryland. She was trained and certified as a mediator at the University of Washington Legal Education Program and Vancouver Community Mediation Dispute Resolution Center. 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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May 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:
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? 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.
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.
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.
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:
March 27, 2014
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.
March 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.
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.
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.
The Keynote Presentation featuring Neva Walker is open to the public for free.
Community members are invited to register for free at this link: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/571338
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 email@example.com
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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:
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.
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.”
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.
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KBOO 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.
On 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:
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.”
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.
Chair, Portland Human Rights Commission
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.
On 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:
Friends of MET Award:
Denny Doyle, Mayor - City of Beaverton
Don Mazziotti,Community Development Director - City of Beaverton
Mohamed Kabira, President - Masjid Al-Furqan
Imtiaz Khan, President - Masjid As-Saber
Diaa Eldin Nassar,Vice President - Intel Muslim Employee Group
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.
UPDATE: Flyers have reportedly been received in the following neighborhoods: Irvington, Arbor Lodge, SW Hills, Laurelhurst, and Eliot.
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.
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.
The 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.
Amanda 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.
IRCO’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.
API 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