When communities are displaced and forced to move, the impact includes trauma and the burden of having to rebuild. Beyond Black, one of our Social Equity Educational Development (SEED) Grant awardees, formed in response to Black Portlanders being pushed out of North Portland and resettling in areas that lacked sufficient cultural support, services, and identity. The organization unapologetically represents Black cultures and experiences; their core belief is that 400 years of slavery, segregation, Jim Crow laws, drug wars, and institutional racism have left Black communities at a detrimental disadvantage.
Formed in 2017, the organization is committed to building community capacity and power by mobilizing Black communities to advocate for themselves and holding government institutions accountable. With Civic Life’s SEED Grant Fund, Beyond Black plans to create a restorative justice program which will include:
- Organizing and facilitating “Policy Cafes and Government Tours”. This program will aim to empower people to use their voice and inﬂuence political processes and policies through active engagement. Participants will learn how to provide public testimony, connect with local representatives, and be given opportunities become involved in other leadership groups.
- Developing and implementing the program “Breaking the Chains” which will help people heal from the traumas of incarceration, drug addiction, and poverty through monthly health and wellness groups, individual support and coaching, and assistance with housing and wraparound services.
Beyond Black hopes the restorative justice program will begin to heal BIPOC communities from trauma caused by incarceration, poverty, and drug addiction and grow community members’ capacity to influence political processes and public policy.
Robyn Stowers, an employee at Beyond Black states, “[We are] looking forward to creating safe, pro-Black spaces for our community to learn from each other and heal. The goal of this work is to mobilize Black communities to advocate for themselves and hold government institutions accountable.”
For more information about 2020 SEED Grant Recipient, Beyond Black, please check out: https://www.facebook.com/beyondblackcdc/
Recently, the City of Portland Cannabis Program announced its 2020 SEED Grant Fund recipients. The fund provides support to non-profit and for-profit entities working toward restitution and restoration of BIPOC communities negatively impacted by racially-biased cannabis prohibition. Over the next few weeks, we will present a series highlighting the grantees and the wonderful work they are doing to empower our Portland community.