The Oregon League of Minority Voters, Portland's newest advocacy group for people of color, is launching several new initiatives. The group is nonpartisan, but aims to advocate for policies that address the issues that matter to people of color across the state. The league is looking for volunteers of color to help organize:
A Political Debate Forum for Democratic candidates running for Congress. Held in collaboration with KATU-TV Channel 2, the event will be 3-5 p.m. on April 27 at Pacific University in Forest Grove.
An annual Oregon Minority Political Summit conference where key public and private sector leaders can meet with community members to discuss issues related to public policies and Oregon's minority communities. The first conference will take place in May in Portland.
A Campaign for Just Policy to promote public discussion about issues of high importance to minority and low-income communities in Oregon.
A Get Out the Vote Campaign in cooperation with other local organizations to persuade at least 10,000 people in minority communities to participate in local, state and national elections.
A series of Community Luncheons to provide a forum for minority leaders to gather and discuss their policy priorities that promote inclusion and diversity.
Debate teams at Oregon high schools that have significant minority populations. The goal is to encourage next-generation leaders to develop their own voice and increase their involvement in public debate. The OLMV is working with Jefferson High School in Portland and Forest Grove High School initially.
The group currently is led by board chair Bill Crow, a Portland attorney with Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt; and vice chair Lydia Lundberg, a Portland businesswoman. Promise King, a former Portland Tribune columnist who has worked as a senior policy advisor for State Treasurer Randall Edwards and City Councilman Dan Saltzman, serves as its executive director.
"The lack of equal representation and participation from communities of color at senior policy levels in all tiers of local government makes our organization uniquely suitable to make a contribution to Oregon's future," said Crow. "Our core commitment is to provide policy education to people of color, engage in solution-driven advocacy and objective analysis of issues and provide policy advice to state and local organizations and candidates for public offices."
The group plans to bring different communities of color together to share concerns and build partnerships.
"There has been great dissent between communities of color in this country in the past when it comes to unity and collaboration," Lundberg said. "We believe we are the first such group in the nation that brings people of all colors together to advocate for public policies. The OLMV will work to support the rights of all groups. We want to serve as a liaison between communities of color, policy leaders and institutions."
For more information, contact the OLMV at promise@OregonLMV.org or on the web at OregonLMV.org.