06-23-2018  6:17 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

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MRG Foundation Announces Spring 2018 Grantees

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

Lawsuits allege racial profiling in Portland-area businesses

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Alaska city honors Guardsmen killed in crash after '64 quake

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A month after the second most powerful earthquake ever was recorded, the Alaska port community of Valdez remained in ruins.A hulking Alaska National Guard cargo plane's mission April 25, 1964, was to deliver Gov. William Egan to oversee efforts to rebuild the town on...

The Latest: Alaska city unveils memorial to fallen Guardsmen

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Latest on an Alaska city honoring Guardsmen killed in crash after 1964 earthquake (all times local):1:40 p.m.Four men who died on a humanitarian mission to help rebuild an Alaska town following the second most powerful earthquake ever recorded have been honored...


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 ...


Lawsuits allege racial profiling in Portland-area businesses

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Several African Americans are suing big-box stores and restaurants in Oregon, claiming employees at those places wrongly accused them of stealing because they were "shopping while black."A Portland law firm has filed five lawsuits alleging racial profiling at businesses in...

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.Criticism was swift on...

Chaos on the border inflames GOP's split with Latinos

When more than 1,000 Latino officials __ a crop of up-and-coming representatives from a fast-growing demographic __ gathered in Phoenix last week, no one from the Trump administration was there to greet them.It marked the first time a presidential administration skipped the annual conference of the...


Give up after scandals? Television history shows otherwise

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Ornate NYC theater, used for years as a gym, to be restored

NEW YORK (AP) — For years, Long Island University's basketball team played in a French Baroque movie palace in downtown Brooklyn.The gilded wall fountains, plastered statuettes and towering, one-of-a-kind Wurlitzer organ pipes of the historic Paramount Theater were preserved by the...

Vinnie Paul, co-founder, drummer of Pantera, dies at 54

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AP PHOTOS: Germany salvages campaign on Day 10 of World Cup

MOSCOW (AP) — Germany midfielder Toni Kroos scored a dramatic late winner to come from behind and beat...

1 dead after attack at huge rally for Ethiopia's new PM

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — A thwarted attempt to hurl a grenade at Ethiopia's reformist new prime...

Sanders says she was told to leave Virginia restaurant

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Stars flock to the Dior debut of Kim Jones at Paris menswear

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US moves 100 coffins to inter-Korean border for war remains

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The U.S. military said it moved 100 wooden coffins to the inter-Korean border to...

1 dead after attack at huge rally for Ethiopia's new PM

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — A thwarted attempt to hurl a grenade at Ethiopia's reformist new prime...

Graph showing poverty in Multnomah County and nationally
By Helen Silvis | The Skanner News

It’s no secret that Portland’s African American community suffers from high rates of poverty and unemployment. Wealth and income gaps persist along with and racial disparities in just about every measure of wellbeing.

Yet even if the figures are not new, when looked at as a whole they paint a harsh picture of the African American experience in Multnomah County. So the latest Communities of Color report, released last week by the Portland African American Leadership Forum, amounts to a powerful wake-up call for leaders and citizens alike.

“I think there are plenty of people who will read the report and will think that either things have changed or somewhat gotten better,” said Cyreena Boston, director of Portland African American Leadership Forum.  “And they will probably be a bit shocked – and I hope dissatisfied—by the fact that they’ve even gotten worse or stayed exactly the same.”

The African American Community in Multnomah County: An Unsettling Profile, (pdf) is the fifth of six reports commissioned by the Communities of Color Coalition. Earlier reports covered Multnomah County’s Native American, Asian Pacific Islander, Latino and African Immigrant and Refugee communities. See all the full reports here.

The report will be presented to Multnomah County Commissioners 10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 21 at the Multnomah County Boardroom, 501 SE Hawthorne, Portland.

In more than 100 pages of data, details and recommendations, the African American report covers six core areas:

·         Economic Opportunity and Vitality

·         Housing and Neighborhood Opportunity

·         Health and its Barriers

·         Child Welfare

·         Education—from pre-kindergarten through post-secondary

·         Criminal Justice system

In almost every area the report finds disparities that hurt African American families and children.  Graphs detail high rates of family poverty, a stubborn education achievement gap,  more severe discipline in schools,  lower high school graduation rates, foster care decisions that take children out of homes more often and for longer times, and the list goes on. View graphs here.

Key findings include:

Poverty rates for Black people are worse in MultnomahCounty than they are nationally.

The average income for a White family is $69,614. For an African American family it’s $31,957.

More than 40 in every 100 African American children in live in poverty compared to 15 of every 100 White children.

Fewer than one-third of African-American households own their homes, compared to about 60 percent of White households in MultnomahCounty.

Black youth are 6.5 times more likely to be charged with a crime than Whites, and they are 33 percent more likely to be held in detention.

A White youth found guilty stands a one-in-ten chance of being held in custody, while a Black youth faces a one-in-four chance.

Michael Alexander, president of the Urban League of Portland, said bringing all the statistics together shows how different institutions work together to form a system that creates and reinforces inequality.

“It’s not good news but it’s never going to get better unless we begin to track and monitor,” Alexander says. 

“We begin to see a pattern across multiple indicators in the adverse exposure that young African Americans have to many of the systems that are charged with education, criminal justice, child welfare,” he says.  “We have higher levels of African American children in foster care, lower placement in families… It just speaks to not just the neglect, but the lack of focus in finding ways to appropriately and constructively engage this group.

“I think it’s also a very valid reminder to policy makers and elected officials foundations and those who are funding work around those measures and social justice issues to understand how much work still needs to be done.”

Boston said that on the state level, Gov. Kitzhaber has shown leadership by forming the Public Safety Commission.  The governor has shown he understands how high levels of young black men in the criminal justice system are linked to under-spending on education and safety net programs, she says.   

“I think there is a connection between how we are under-educating young black boys and how they get caught up in the school to prison pipeline.”

Boston hopes local leaders and funders will adopt specific recommendations to address each area of disparity. Many of those recommendations require action from political leaders.

Portland State University assistant professor Lisa Bates, who wrote the report, said experts from the community weighed in to develop policies that have been shown to work.

“There has been some really clear thinking around how to really activate a community benefits agreement to address gentrification issues, public contracting issues, subsidized development issues, for example,” she said. “A lot of thought has gone into the education section and trying to clarify the issues facing Black young people in school.”

Advocates hope that community members will attend the Jan. 21 presentation, to hear from experts who contributed to the report and to demand action from policymakers and elected officials.

“I think the report sends a clear message that despite the fact that we have governments which have taken on equity as a part of their political makeup, and the way their government operates, there are still plenty of things that need to be addressed by way of the African American community,” Boston says.

“To simply have offices of equity and equity lenses is just not enough. I think the report creates a compelling argument that governments and other powerful agencies need to be very specific in terms of responding to these specific policy recommendations in the report.”

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