In just a few days, it’ll be Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Portland has notoriety-- as a progressive, arts-focused, weird, tech-friendly, social-justice sanctuary city. Often under that curtain though, the real, physical, traumatic history suffered by this city-- and the reality of the systemic issues and supports left standing today-- are clouded. Vehement racism, classism, and all kinds of inequity are issues deeply rooted, right here in our front yard: the facts of Oregon’s history show it.
Although Free Geek’s work is focused hand-in-hand against these inequities faced by our community-- today, we’d like to give focus instead to other Portland organizations, whose missions and leadership share the focal point of lifting up BIPOC Oregonians.
It’s our hope that, as we reach this memoriam of great social justice work, each of us considers pooling efforts to provide to these organizations in celebration of Portland’s incredible leaders and communities of color!
Momentum Alliance is a youth-of-color led organization. “Our mission is to inspire young people to realize their power individually and collectively and to mentor future social justice leaders. We are undocumented, immigrant, indigenous, LGBTQ, gang-affected, STI-positive, low-income youth, youth of color, youth impacted by profiling, displacement, foster care, homelessness and incarceration, youth with disabilities, youth who have experienced war, domestic violence and abuse, and teen parents. We are youth-led in the sense that: 100% of our staff are women and queer trans people of color under 30 - majority being under 25. 100% of our Board are people of color under 30 - majority being under 25. Our vision: Love, justice, healing, and collective power for youth of color most impacted by injustices. Our core values are: Vulnerability as a Strength, Intersectionality, Deep Relationships, Love, and Shifting Power.”
“In 1983, leaders in North and Northeast Portland, Oregon noticed that many philanthropic organizations were providing minimal support to communities of color. To combat this inequality those same leaders started the Black United Fund of Oregon to channel charitable funds to low-income areas. The mission of the Black United Fund of Oregon is to assist in the social and economic development of Oregon’s underserved communities and to contribute to a broader understanding of ethnic and culturally diverse groups. For more than 35 years, The Black United Fund of Oregon (BUF) has been committed to providing financial support and life-changing programs for underserved communities and BIPOC communities in Oregon. Our ultimate goal is to increase opportunities for youth, encourage philanthropic activity in our state, and to put funds in the hands of BIPOC-led and -serving organizations that provide vital resources for underserved communities.”
“Formed in 2001, the Coalition of Communities of Color (CCC) is an alliance of culturally-specific community based organizations with representation from the following communities of color: African, African American, Asian, Latino, Middle Eastern and North African, Native American, Pacific Islander, and Slavic. The CCC supports a collective racial justice effort to improve outcomes for communities of color through policy analysis and advocacy, environmental justice, culturally-appropriate data and research, and leadership development in communities of color. The Coalition of Communities of Color (CCC) addresses the socioeconomic disparities, institutional racism and inequity of services experienced by our families, children and communities; and to organize our communities for collective action resulting in social change to obtain self-determination, wellness, justice and prosperity.”
Urban League of Portland has been Empowering Black communities in Oregon and Southwest Washington since 1945. “Urban League of Portland is one of Oregon’s oldest civil rights and social service organizations, empowering African-Americans and others to achieve equality in education, employment, health, economic security and quality of life. We do this by investing in stable housing; through workforce development; community health; education and well-being; for our youth, adults and seniors. Our culturally specific programs and services, combined with our powerful advocacy and civic engagement, empowers Black communities to thrive across Oregon and SW Washington.”