In an exhibit designed to charge emotions and insight action, award-winning Time Magazine photojournalist, Steve Liss, together with other notable photojournalists, chronicles the plight of regional poverty in modern-day America in "In Our Own Backyard: U.S. Poverty in the 21st Century," in the Plaza Foyer of the Portland Hilton, 921 SW 6th Ave., from 10 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 24, until noon on Saturday, Sept. 26.
"In Our Own Backyard: U.S. Poverty in the 21st Century" will serve as the backdrop for the Catholic Charities USA 2009 Annual Gathering, "Journey to Reduce Poverty in America," to be held in Portland Sept. 24-26.
The opening reception for the conference, which will include an artist's reception for Liss, is Thursday, from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the Portland Hilton's Pavilion Ballroom, adjacent to the Plaza Foyer.
While the exhibition is free and open to the public, access to the reception will be granted only to those who have registered for the opening session of the Annual Gathering, the Centennial Leadership Summit, for a fee of $125. Members of the general public are welcome to attend the opening session.
Catholic Charities USA is collaborating with the organizers of "In Our Own Backyard: U.S. Poverty in the 21st Century" to assign a visual cue to its goal of cutting poverty in half by the year 2020. Over the next year, Catholic Charities USA will launch "In Our Own Backyard: U.S. Poverty in the 21st Century" in nine exhibits throughout the country, with each exhibit reflecting the face of poverty from the immediate region.
A poverty awareness project undertaken by American photojournalists, "In Our Own Backyard: U.S. Poverty in the 21st Century" is designed to inspire dialog on poverty – and ultimately help make poverty reduction a national priority – by pairing the visual power of documentary photography with the persuasive power of the human story.
The thousands of images captured by the photojournalists, along with video and oral histories, are available for use by qualifying organizations working to advance social justice and economic rights.
The schedule for the Centennial Leadership Summit, which includes lunch and a reception, and a full day of forward-thinking discussion, is as follows:
10 a.m. Rev. Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA, will launch this first of nine gatherings with an invitation to people of all faiths, business backgrounds, philanthropic intents and political leanings to join the Catholic Charities movement of bringing greater dignity and respect to the American poor through legislation that moves beyond safety net support to empowerment.
11:15 a.m. to 12 p.m.: Panelists react
Facilitator: Rev. Thomas P. Doyle, CSC, University of Portland
Panelists: Mark B. Ganz, Regence BlueCross BlueShield; Jodi Pfarr, Emma Norton Services; Kevin F. Walker, Northwest Area Foundation
12 p.m. to 12:30 p.m.: Luncheon
12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m.: Program recognition
Programs from the northwestern portion of the country will be highlighted for their contributions toward poverty reduction in the areas of hunger, housing, health, economic stability, education and job training.
1 p.m. to 2 p.m.: Facilitated Discussions
All in attendance will participate in round table discussions to extrapolate concepts for informing Congress of the work of Catholic Charities.
2 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.: Afternoon break
2:30 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.: Legislative Update
Candy S. Hill, vice president of Catholic Charities USA will report on the present status of national legislative initiatives.
2:45 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.: Point/Counterpoint panel discussion
Panelists: Tiziana Dearing, president, Catholic Charities, Boston; Kathleen McGowan, executive director, Catholic Charities, Joliet; Michael Reichert, president, Catholic Community Services of Western Washington; Harold A. Smith, executive director, Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Baltimore
3:45 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.: The Personal, Regional, and National Commitment
Father Larry Snyder will synthesize the conversation.
4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.: Opening Reception / Artist's Reception