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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 503.823.2173.
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