06-19-2018  5:31 am      •     
The Skanner Report
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NEWS BRIEFS

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 ...

CareOregon Awards $250,000 for Housing Projects

Recipients include Rogue Retreat, Bridges to Change, Luke Dorf, Transition Projects and Bridge Meadows ...

The Honorable Willie L. Brown to Receive NAACP Spingarn Medal

The award recognizes Brown’s lifelong commitment to the community, equality and civil rights ...

Watching Oprah: The Oprah Winfrey Show and American Culture

New Smithsonian exhibit looks at how Oprah Winfrey shaped American culture and vice versa ...

Prosecutor: Oregon man justified in shooting near hotel

BEND, Ore. (AP) — A heavy equipment operator was legally justified when he shot and wounded a knife-wielding man last month outside an Oregon hotel, a prosecutor said Monday.However, Robert Garris was foolish to appoint himself "sheriff of the Days Inn" and initiate a confrontation with the...

Some forest trails remain closed long after 2017 wildfire

IDANHA, Ore. (AP) — Some trails in Oregon's Willamette National Forest remain closed because of damage from a wildfire that scorched the area last year.The Whitewater Trail into the Jefferson Park area remains closed. Other trails, including some in the Fall Creek area near Eugene, also are...

Border separations ripple through midterm campaigns

Wrenching scenes of migrant children being separated from their parents at the southern border are roiling campaigns ahead of midterm elections, emboldening Democrats on the often-fraught issue of immigration while forcing an increasing number of Republicans to break from President Donald Trump on...

Spokane man convicted in 2015 deadly shooting

MOSES LAKE, Wash. (AP) — A Spokane man has been convicted of killing a Moses Lake teenager during a 2015 robbery attempt.The Columbia Basin Herald reports Jeremiah Smith was found guilty of first-degree murder, first-degree burglary, first-degree assault and first-degree unlawful possession...

OPINION

What Happened? Assessing the Singapore Summit

For all its weaknesses, we are better off having had the summit than not ...

Redlining Settlement Fails to Provide Strong Penalties

A recent settlement of a federal redlining lawsuit is yet another sign that justice is still being denied ...

5 Lessons on Peace I Learned from My Cat Soleil

Dr. Jasmine Streeter takes some cues on comfort from her cat ...

Research Suggests Suicides By Racial and Ethnic Minorities are Undercounted

Sociologist Dr. Kimya Dennis describes barriers to culturally-specific suicide research and treatment ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Border separations ripple through midterm campaigns

Wrenching scenes of migrant children being separated from their parents at the southern border are roiling campaigns ahead of midterm elections, emboldening Democrats on the often-fraught issue of immigration while forcing an increasing number of Republicans to break from President Donald Trump on...

Germany: Syrian teen on trial over anti-Semitic assault

BERLIN (AP) — A 19-year-old from Syria is on trial in Berlin over an assault in the German capital on an Israeli wearing a skullcap.The young man is charged with bodily harm and slander. The April 17 attack caused nationwide outrage and fueled concerns over anti-Semitism in Germany.German...

City where many slaves entered US to apologize for slavery

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — The South Carolina city where almost half of all the slaves brought to the United States first set foot on American soil is ready to apologize for its role in the slave trade.The resolution expected to be passed by the Charleston City Council on Tuesday offers a...

ENTERTAINMENT

In 'Jurassic World,' a dino-sized animal-rights parable

NEW YORK (AP) — The dinosaurs of "Jurassic Park" are many things. They are special-effects wonders. They are unruly house guests. And they are some of the biggest, most foot-stomping metaphors around.Since Steven Spielberg's 1993 original, the dinos of "Jurassic Park" — many of them...

Immigration detention policy becomes major issue in media

NEW YORK (AP) — In a phone conversation with her executive producer over the weekend, "CBS This Morning" anchor Gayle King wondered if there wasn't more the network could do on the story of children being separated from parents through the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" immigration...

Adam Levine, Behati Prinsloo share baby photo

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Maroon 5 singer Adam Levine spent his first Father's Day as a dad of two.Supermodel Behati Prinsloo shared a photo on Instagram of the 39-year-old holding their second daughter, Gio Grace, who was born in February. Their first daughter, Dusty Rose, is nearly 2 years...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Yemeni officials say fighting rages around Hodeida airport

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Fierce fighting raged Tuesday outside the airport of the vital Yemeni city of Hodeida,...

US could back 1st pot-derived medicine, and some are worried

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — A British pharmaceutical company is getting closer to a decision on whether...

Army splits with West Point grad who touted communist revolt

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (AP) — The images Spenser Rapone posted on Twitter from his West Point graduation were...

North Korea's Kim meets with Chinese President Xi in Beijing

BEIJING (AP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday at the...

Twin brothers reunited 74 years after WWII death at Normandy

COLLEVILLE-SUR-MER, France (AP) — For decades, he was known only as Unknown X-9352 at a World War II...

France's Macron admonishes teenager; video goes viral

PARIS (AP) — A video of French President Emmanuel Macron strongly admonishing a teenager who called him by...

Intisar Abioto photographer
By Lisa Loving | The Skanner News

Through a series of unrelated recent events, Black Portlanders have landed on the national stage.

First, ascending Atlanta rappers Young Thug and Bloody Jay released a recording in January called “Black Portland” to critical acclaim — except that some African-American people who live in Portland have their own take on what the term means.

Then this week, late-night talk show host Conan O'Brien ridiculed the City of Portland over the recent Portland Development Commission negotiations to build a Trader Joe's on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard – joking that “Portland is the Native American word for ‘too many white people.’”

Portland photographer Intisar Abioto is right in the middle of it. Her photography blog, “The Black Portlanders” — celebrating one year this month — is dedicated to telling the whole story of this very specific community of people which she compares to the Maroon communities in Jamaica.

Abioto hosted a special event Feb. 15 at Glyph Café and Art Space in the Pearl District, to promote an Indiegogo campaign to recover work she lost through an untimely computer crash last fall, as well as future projects.

From the destruction of the historic Black business district to the struggle for hip hop entrepreneurs to make a living here, Abioto has no trouble linking all these issues into one simple truth: African descendants in the Pacific Northwest comprise a unique community, one that has struggled even more than most, and is generally misunderstood or written off by the mainstream culture.

“We think about it in terms of just these physical things, but what we are talking about is the growth and the blossoming of actual people — it's not just the buildings,” she says.

“What does it mean, to rebuild your community again and again, inter-generationally?”

Intisar herself is rebuilding – she suffered an almost irreparable loss last fall when the hard drive containing all of the images from her world-famous photography project crashed.

Now she's launched a new funding effort through Indiegogo to pay for the hard drive repairs and build out her project over the next year.

“I think my approach really takes into account both the whole world, but also the whole African Diaspora, in thinking about this one community of 36 or 37,000 people,” she says.

Which is why comparing Black Portlanders to the maroons is such a fascinating point of view.

The maroons were – are—small communities of Africans and their descendants in the Caribbean and throughout the “New World” who escaped enslavement and formed self-governing settlements alongside indigenous people during the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. They preserved many aspects of African life and culture that otherwise would have been wiped out.

Abioto hopes to branch out into a radio show, video production, storytelling, arts and exploration.

The artist says she's working to publish her images into a book; she's also hoping to purchase a film-capable single lens reflex camera to mix film with video -- which she hopes will take these new projects to a larger audience.

And a larger audience is exactly what she got when Young Thug and Bloody Jay put out “Black Portland” – already considered to be one of the hottest recordings of the year.

“My feelings about it have evolved,” Abioto says. “I do understand to an extent where they're coming from, because I went to school in Atlanta, I'm from the south, I've been there.

“It's a place where Black people are doing all kinds of things, and I get that comparison of Portland’s culture of makers and doers here and the culture of makers and doers there.”

But, Abioto says, there's already a Black Portland.

“To me, as a result of the lack of a diverse expression of the Portland that's being branded to the world, what we see past our borders -- but also within Portland -- it's a limited story. I don't think the world gets any of the real history of this place.

“And so when they talk about Portland being a white city, they don't understand the very unique journey that brought people of color to the state.

"It's powerful what Black people have done to be here, but their story isn't seen on the national stage, because the ongoing trauma of the history -- it doesn't fit into Portland's happy-go-lucky branding of ‘the city that works.’" she says. “It doesn't fit into the idea of this kind of Utopia.

“That is what allows people to think there are no Black people here, that there have never been Black people here or people of color.

“So while I get some aspects of what they're saying and I do applaud their imagination -- I think that's wonderful to be able to think of something like that to try to support alternative ways of Black being -- I'm all for that.

“But I do believe that on the national stage you need to understand that Portland is not Portlandia, it's a place of history and people and culture, living -- trying to live.

“I think it's a much more powerful story than what is currently being portrayed on the national stage.”

For more on Abioto’s Indiegogo campaign, go to www.TheBlackPortlanders.com.

 

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