11-19-2017  2:13 am      •     
MLK Breakfast
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NEWS BRIEFS

SEI, Sunshine Division Offer Thanksgiving Meals to Families in Need

Turkeys are being provided to fill 200 Thanksgiving food boxes for SEI families ...

NAACP Portland Monthly Meeting Nov. 18

Monthly general membership meeting takes place on Saturday, 12 - 2 p.m. ...

Multnomah County Animal Services Waives Adoption Fees Nov. 17

Special runs from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday ...

Fitzpatrick Presents 'Pathway 1000' Plan Before City Council

Plan would restore involuntary displacement by building 80 homes per year ...

Sisters Network to Hold Monthly Meeting Nov. 11

Meeting to take place Saturday morning at June Key Delta Center ...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

OPINION

Local Author Visits North Portland Library

Renee Watson teaches students and educators about the power of writing ...

Is the FBI’s New Focus on “Black Identity Extremists” the New COINTELPRO?

Rep. Cedric L. Richmond (D-La.) talks about the FBI’s misguided report on “Black Identity Extremism” and negative Facebook ads. ...

ACA Enrollment Surging, Even Though It Ends Dec. 15

NNPA contributing writer Cash Michaels writes about enrollment efforts ...

Blacks Often Pay Higher Fees for Car Purchases than Whites

Charlene Crowell explains why Black consumers often pay higher fees than White consumers, because of “add-on” products. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

ENTERTAINMENT

By Arashi Young | The Skanner News

The first PFLAG Black Chapter in the country has shut its doors and is in the process of reforming as an independent organization. The group has focused on serving the Black LGBTQ community in the Portland area.

Khalil Edwards, co-director of the former organization, said the new group will continue this work under a new name with full agency and autonomy -- a move that required leaving the PFLAG Portland organization.

“We still have at the center of it, lifting up Black LGBTQ families and individuals and working towards liberation of all Black peoples in this country, in this state, in this city,” Edwards said.

The Black Chapter was founded in 2009 as a program under the PFLAG Portland non-profit, sharing a board of directors and a Tax ID number. Since that time both organizations have grown: PFLAG added chapters in East County and Washington County and the Black Chapter grew in membership and expanded services.

In addition to their signature LGBTQ celebration event, Black Pride, the Black Chapter has been working on Black Lives Matter activism, book drives for incarcerated youth and prison divestment initiatives.

Edwards said the structure of the organization worked well when PFLAG Portland and the Black Chapter agreed on how to run the non-profit. But when the two organizations diverged, PFLAG Portland had the final say.

Dawn Holt, the President of PFLAG Portland said the biggest disagreement between PFLAG Portland and the Black Chapter was the choice to have paid staff instead of being a volunteer-run organization.

“A real point of departure between the Black Chapter and PFLAG Portland was when they decided that paid staff was the way that they needed to move their work forward,” Holt said.

Most of the PFLAG organization throughout the country is run by volunteers and a volunteer board of directors, according to Holt. She said that pursuing paid staff meant more work developing a funding stream and pursuing larger grants.

“That was more and more difficult for an all-volunteer board to really administer effectively,” Holt said.

For Edwards, the decision to lay off staff and go to a volunteer model would have fundamentally changed the work the organization could do. In his experience, work in the Black LGBTQ community requires more than volunteers, it needs investment in those organizers.

“An all-volunteer model … does not work for our work and our communities,” Edwards said. “To really do work effectively, it requires paid staff to carry out that work in a real way.”

The transition from PFLAG Portland to an independent organization has been tumultuous. The group needed to rebrand and establish a new non-profit identity to fundraise and begin paying their staff. 

Throughout the upheaval, Edwards remains optimistic about the future of the new PFLAG Black Chapter.

“We are going to get through this challenging time in our history and our journey and come out stronger than ever,” Edwards said.

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