06-22-2018  11:34 pm      •     
The Skanner Report
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AG Rosenblum Seeks Info from Oregonians

Oregon Attorney General seeks information on children separated from families at border ...

Community Forum: How Does Law Enforcement Interact With Vulnerable Populations?

Forum will focus on public safety and examine mental health and addiction issues ...

King County Council Recognizes Juneteenth

The Metropolitan King County Council recognizes a true 'freedom day' in the United States ...

Unite Oregon Hosts ‘Mourn Pray Love, and Take Action’ June 20

Community is invited to gather at Terry Schrunk Plaza at 6 p.m. on World Refugee Day ...

MRG Foundation Announces Spring 2018 Grantees

Recipients include Oregon DACA Coalition, Kúkátónón Children’s African Dance Troupe, Komemma Cultural Protection Association ...

Lawsuit seeks lawyer access to immigrants in prison

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A rights group filed an emergency lawsuit in federal court Friday against top officials of U.S. immigration and homeland security departments, alleging they have unconstitutionally denied lawyers' access to immigrants in a prison in Oregon.Immigration and Customs...

Police: Oregon toddler dies after being left in hot car

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A toddler in Oregon died after being left alone in a hot car while her mother went to work as a family nurse practitioner, authorities said Friday.Nicole Engler, 38, of Roseburg told investigators she thought she had taken her 21-month-old daughter Remington to daycare...

Lawsuits challenge efforts to push abstinence-only on teens

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Several affiliates of Planned Parenthood sued the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Friday over its efforts to impose an abstinence-only focus on its Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program that has served more than 1 million young people.The lawsuits were filed...

Man, 5-year-old boy hurt in electrical accident in Everett

EVERETT, Wash. (AP) — Authorities say a man and his 5-year-old son were hospitalized after a mechanical lift they were using in Everett touched power lines.The Daily Herald reports the accident happened Friday afternoon in an alley downtown.It wasn't known why the pair was using a mechanical...


How Washington’s 'School Achievement Index' Became School Spending Index

New assessment categorizes schools not by quality of education, but level of funding officials believe they should receive ...

Black Mamas Are Dying. We Can Stop It.

Congresswoman Robin Kelly plans to improve access to culturally-competent care with the MOMMA Act ...

Hey, Elected Officials: No More Chicken Dinners...We Need Policy

Jeffrey Boney says many elected officials who visit the Black community only during the election season get a pass for doing nothing ...

Juneteenth: Freedom's Promise Still Denied

Juneteenth is a celebration of the de facto end of slavery, but the proliferation of incarceration keeps liberation unfulfilled ...


Racist tropes in Ramadan TV satires anger black Arabs

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — In an attempt to capitalize on what's become a ratings bonanza for Arabic satellite channels during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, two comedies struck the wrong chord with audiences when their lead actors appeared in blackface, a form of makeup that...

AP Source: J. Cole to perform at BET Awards

NEW YORK (AP) — J. Cole is set to perform at Sunday's BET Awards.A person familiar with the awards show, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not allowed to discuss the plans publicly, tells The Associated Press on Friday that the rapper will perform at the...

The Latest: Germany, Mexico, Belgium headline Saturday games

MOSCOW (AP) — The Latest on Friday at the World Cup (all times local):1:13 a.m.Will Germany follow Brazil's lead in righting the ship after a rocky World Cup start, or will the defending champ find itself keeping company with Argentina, needing help if it hopes to advance?The World Cup could...


So much TV, so little summer: Amy Adams, Kevin Hart, Dr. Pol

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The fall television season is months away but that's no reason to stare moodily at a blank screen. In this era of peak TV, there are so many outlets and shows clamoring for your summertime attention that it can be as daunting as choosing between a mojito and a frozen...

Honduran girl in symbolic photo not separated from mother

NEW YORK (AP) — A crying Honduran girl depicted in a widely-seen photograph that became a symbol for many of President Donald Trump's immigration policies was not actually separated from her mother, U.S. government officials said on Friday.Time magazine used an image of the girl, by Getty...

AP Source: J. Cole to perform at BET Awards

NEW YORK (AP) — J. Cole is set to perform at Sunday's BET Awards.A person familiar with the awards show, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not allowed to discuss the plans publicly, tells The Associated Press on Friday that the rapper will perform at the...


Beyond World Cup: Advocates call attention to Russian abuses

MOSCOW (AP) — Wrapped in national flags, jubilant fans dance at midnight in the streets of Moscow, smiling,...

Trump advises GOP: Quit wasting time on immigration.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Just when House Republicans needed Donald Trump's backing the most — on their big...

Racist tropes in Ramadan TV satires anger black Arabs

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — In an attempt to capitalize on what's become a ratings bonanza for...

OPEC agrees to pump more oil but crude prices jump anyway

VIENNA (AP) — The countries of the OPEC cartel agreed on Friday to pump 1 million barrels more crude oil...

US officials say girl on Time cover isn't separated from mom

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. Border Patrol officials said Friday that a girl who is pictured on the cover of this...

Many Brazilians look to military amid anger at politicians

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Furious at corrupt politicians and fearful of deteriorating security, many Brazilians...

By Helen Silvis of The Skanner News

It's a libertarian's nightmare. The Oregon Legislature is beginning its 2013 session with hundreds of proposals for new laws, or tweaks to old ones.  Of course, many of the proposed bills will never gather enough support to come to a vote, but others are coming to the table with support already lined up.

High on the agenda are a host of healthcare bills that will finalize the state's version of Obamacare.  Gov. Kitzhaber is pushing for reforms to the prison system.  And corporate lobbyists, advocacy groups and nonprofits all will be pushing for their own legislative priorities.  

African Americans, and other advocates from minority communities are planning a day of action to make sure all of our voices are heard.

"A lot of what we do is to educate and inform legislators about how issues affect our communities," says Midge Purcell, Director of Advocacy and Public Policy for The Urban League of Portland.

The league has been working with groups such as, the Portland African American Leadership Forum, the Center for Intercultural Organizing and the Coalition of Communities of Color to draw up a list of priorities.

Advocates from those groups will be heading to Salem next Tuesday, Feb. 19, for Our Voices United Legislative Action Day. Buses will leave Portland around 7:30 a.m. taking advocates to meet legislators, discuss issues, and watch a session in progress. The group will meet in the Oregon State Capitol Building, Hearing Room 50, 900 Court St. NE, Salem, at 9 –9:30 a.m., and will head back to Portland at 3 p.m. Students from several high school Black Student Unions have signed up. Anyone interested in attending can contact the Urban League to reserve a seat.

"It will be an incredibly powerful experience for youth," Purcell says. "It's really exciting. And because it is Black History month we're going to honor our elected officials, past and present, and also give a special shout out to our Black Veterans."

As well as its usual agenda of looking out for seniors, low-income families and youth, the Urban League of Portland has three specific priorities for the session: requiring cultural competence training  for healthcare workers; eliminating police profiling; lifting restrictions on natural hair care providers.

Cultural Competence for Healthcare providers: Health disparities in disease patterns, treatment and outcomes affect African Americans, Native Americans, Latinos and other minorities. Black Americans, for example, experience higher death rates from a wide range of illnesses, including many cancers, diabetes and heart disease. And some illnesses are more prevalent in certain communities.

"Research has shown that an increase in cultural competence does help" says Midge Purcell, "We feel every health provider who comes into contact with patients of color, really needs to understand how best to treat that patient."

Natural Hair Care: Braiding hair is a longstanding tradition in Black communities and does not involve cutting or chemical use. But if you braid hair in Oregon without a cosmetology license, you're breaking the law. The league wants to pass a law that would offer a license similar to a food handler's license.

"Current laws are way too restrictive," Purcell says. "In fact, you have to have a full cosmetology license in order to pursue natural hair care, which is ironic because it's not a discipline that is widely taught. We feel it is very important to support our community members. And we feel it is an area of economic opportunity that needs to be brought out of the shadows."

Police profiling: Evidence collected on profiling shows that people of color are more likely to be stopped and searched by police, whether on foot or in a vehicle. The league wants a statewide bill that requires all law enforcement agencies to collect data on profiling by race, sexual orientation, housing status, age and immigration status.  

"The bill calls for the elimination of profiling," Purcell says. "If you look at the practices in some states, such as Arizona, where laws almost require police to profile, we want to make sure that doesn't happen here."

Other Issues that Impact People of Color
Besides those three priorities, Purcell says the league will support the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program,  which helps low-income  seniors and families. It will support Gov. Kitzhaber's efforts to cut prison costs, push for changes to state law that would allow cities to require developers to include affordable housing in new developments, and make it illegal to discriminate against Section 8 applicants. Finally, Purcell said, the league will be looking for bills that create jobs.

"Unemployment in the African American community is more than double the rate of the general population" she says. "We'll be looking very, very closely and working to support and inform people about jobs and economic development. It's such a crucial issue for our community"

As the session progresses the league will be monitoring the impact of each new law on communities of color, Purcell says, and the results will be published in an updated Racial Equity Report Card. Last year individual legislators didn't get graded. This year they will be graded on how their votes impact communities of color.

To prepare for the action day, the Urban League of Portland and its partners are offering an activist training session,  Lifting the Voice of African Americans at the State Capitol, from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.,  Tuesday, Feb.  12 at the June Key Delta Community Center, 5940 North Albina Avenue, Portland.


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