Wednesday, March 26, 2014

First in-take session, a glowing success!

Howdy there,

           Last Friday we held our first Police Profiling in-take session here at CIO. We had 20 or so people register to come through our online sign-up and many many more came to the event!

          We had the tables set up and snacks out so while people waited for their interviews, they were able to talk about their experiences of police profiling and abuse and ORGANIZE to create change!

Some of the participants

We had awesome community leaders stop by. 
The maven behind the Portland Campaign to End the New Jim Crow, Jo Ann Hardesty

          I even got the chance to get a picture with the Midge Purcell, Director of Advocacy and Public Policy at the Urban League of Portland.
Me and Midge

              Special thanks go out to the Oregon Justice Resource Center, particular Bobbin and the many student-clerks who documented the stories we gathered.

Student-clerk and Charlotte of CIO

Promise to post more next week!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

End Profiling Campaign at CIO

Hi there!

          Here at CIO, staff members support a number of local, regional, and national programs and initiatives. One of the projects that I am helping out with is a Campaign to End Police Profiling in the state of Oregon. This is a campaign I can really support because of what I observed while conducting interviews for my thesis. I interviewed 20 members of the African community, most of whom were men.
          As I described in my recent testimony as part of the amicus hearing during the United States Dept of Justice's investigation into the Portland Police, every single one of the black men I spoke with had experienced police profiling or abuse. It was a really sad realization for me, but was completely in line with my other observations of institutional racism throughout the city. I testified before the review commitee not only because Portland must redesign their police force to be more efficient and equitable but also because we have the chance to set an incredible positive precedent that other cities can emulate.

          When you think about it, Police profiling means that whole communities are targeted and considered criminals because of who we are and what we look like. The communities' faith and trust in law enforcement crumbles with every transgression, and there have been many. CIO is supporting the End Profiling Act before Oregon legislature; it plainly defines and prohibits profiling by law enforcement  based on "race, ethnicity, color, national origin, sexual orientation, physical or intellectual disability, serious medical condition, income, language, political affiliation or religion ... [and also] requires all of Oregon's law enforcement to train their officers on how not to profile."This is really exciting legislation that will benefit the whole community and the police create stronger ties and will be a step towards restoring trust in the force. There has been some opposition to this Act, so CIO is collecting stories of people who have experienced police profiling and abuse.

          On Friday, March 21 (next week) CIO will be hosting a Police Profiling Intake Session at the Killingsworth office from 4:00-8:00 pm. The event will be hosted in partnership with the Oregon Justice Resource Center. OJRC will provide one-on-one interviews with trained law students to document the reality faced by our communities.

         Any one with an experience of police profiling or mistreatment in the Portland area is invited to come share. If you can't make this session, but still want to tell your story, don't fret! There will be more intake sessions scheduled for later in the spring and through autumn.

Click here to register to attend!

Until next time,

Thursday, March 6, 2014

CIO collaboration with BOOMArts

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of sitting in on a meeting with Nicole Brown from CIO and Ruth Wilker-Luker of BOOMarts. Nicole, Ruth, and I are collaborating to organize a community chorus to participate in a workshop production of Ugandan playwright Deborah Asiimwe's play,
 "Appointment with gOD."


          Asiimwe's play takes a satirical look at the United State's immigration process from the perspective of a group of applicants anxiously waiting in a US Embassy in an unidentified developing country. As part of this collaboration, CIO and BOOMarts are looking for 2-10 participants in a workshop that will take place over the course of a week, April 5- April 12. During this workshop, the participants will discuss and rehearse the piece with professional and student actors. Its a very fast turn over and at the end of the week, these community members, the actors, and installation artist Patricia Vasquez Gomez will together put on a production of "Appointment with gOD." Afterwards, there will be a discussion with the audience about the community members' experiences in immigration administration and the workshop itself. CIO executive director Kayse Jama will also be mediating this discussion and will talk about the ways the audience can encourage structural changes to how US immigration programs treat people.

          The performances will take place April 11 & 12, 7:30pm, April 13, 2:00pm, at Lincoln Hall Studio Theatre, Portland State University. Asiimwe and her director, Emily Mendlesohn will also be giving a FREE artist's lecture Monday, April 7, 2014, 7:00pm at The Fir Acres Main Stage Theatre, Lewis & Clark College
          At the end of the meeting, we also discussed the possibility of incorporating theatre into more of CIO's programming and classes, a really exciting prospect! Now we are hammering out the details of a grant proposal for productions at the Killingsworth office...

For more information about participating or attending the performance, please refer to the BOOMarts site and this flyer 
Stay tuned, 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

My internship with the Center for Intercultural Organizing

          Three weeks ago I started an internship with the Center for Intercultural Organizing in Northeast Portland. As a sociology student, I was always particularly interested in how community organizing can, by giving people a collective voice, effect change in communities and create potent social movements. I was under the misimpression, though, that my love for research and writing would restrict me to the academic world and I never thought that I would find myself in the position of an activist.

This pic is from my very first day with CIO, when I sat in on their superb
PILOT [more info coming soon] program and met these wonderful activists.

          Boy, am I glad I'm giving it a try now! I really feel like I've stumbled upon a exceptionally caring and efficient professional community. The last few weeks have been jam-packed with exciting chances for me to watch grassroots community activism, write interesting grants, learn about the effects of inequitable legislation, contribute my research to new projects, and even testify before the United States Department of Justice as part of their investigation into Portland Police.
          Now, I am going to revive this blog and make a habit of posting about CIO's activities and other projects in Portland. Over the next few months, I imagine there are going to be a lot of cool projects and changes in my life to write about, so stay tuned!

          Until then,