06-21-2018  1:12 pm      •     
The Skanner Report
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NEWS BRIEFS

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 ...

ICE office in Portland closed another day

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Portland was closed again Thursday because of a demonstration against Trump administration immigration policies.Agency spokeswoman Carissa Cutrell said people who had appointments scheduled at the office will be...

Washington, other states plan to sue over family separations

SEATAC, Wash. (AP) — Washington and more than a half-dozen other states said Thursday that they plan to sue the Trump administration over a policy of separating immigrant families illegally entering the United States.Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson made the announcement Thursday...

Washington, other states plan to sue over family separations

SEATAC, Wash. (AP) — Washington and more than a half-dozen other states said Thursday that they plan to sue the Trump administration over a policy of separating immigrant families illegally entering the United States.Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson made the announcement Thursday...

Walla Walla podiatrist charged with unprofessional conduct

WALLA WALLA, Wash. (AP) — A Walla Walla podiatrist has been charged with unprofessional conduct for allegedly failing to meet the standard of care in treating two patients who developed infections which later required amputations.The Union-Bulletin reported Thursday that Washington state's...

OPINION

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 ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Governor orders probe of abuse claims by immigrant children

WASHINGTON (AP) — Virginia's governor ordered state officials Thursday to investigate abuse claims by children at an immigration detention facility who said they were beaten while handcuffed and locked up for long periods in solitary confinement, left nude and shivering in concrete...

Abloh's historic debut at Vuitton is a big draw in Paris

PARIS (AP) — The debut Louis Vuitton collection by Virgil Abloh, the first African-American to head a major European fashion house, drew stars of all stripes to Paris for his rainbow-themed menswear show.Kanye West was there with his wife, Kim Kardashian West, who had returned to Paris for...

Park Service gives initial OK to 'Unite the Right' rally

WASHINGTON (AP) — An organizer of last year's deadly white supremacist rally in Virginia has been granted initial approval to host another rally in August, this time in the heart of the nation's capital.The National Park Service says it has approved an application for a "Unite the Right"...

ENTERTAINMENT

Q&A: Sam Smith on touring, therapy, smoking and lip syncing

NEW YORK (AP) — Sam Smith knows his music is melancholy and emotional, but he's hoping his live shows will be uplifting and feel "like a fistful of love," as he put it.The singer, known for down-tempo hits like "Stay With Me" and "Too Good at Goodbyes," is launching "The Thrill of It All...

AP PHOTOS: Toasts, kisses and laughs at Clooney AFI gala

LOS ANGELES (AP) — George Clooney, this is your life.The American Film Institute hosted a star-studded gala earlier this month to honor the Oscar-winner's achievements as an actor, director and activist. The evening kicked off with a video message from former President Barack Obama, and...

Mike Colter brings the pain as the indestructible Luke Cage

ATLANTA (AP) — "Black Panther" broke box office records, but "Luke Cage" once crashed Netflix.The streaming service suffered a massive outage for more than two hours in 2016, one day after the premiere of "Luke Cage," a drama-action series starring Mike Colter who plays the show's superhero...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Dig it: Archaeologists scour Woodstock '69 concert field

BETHEL, N.Y. (AP) — Archaeologists scouring the grassy hillside famously trampled during the 1969 Woodstock...

Canada's legalization to offer pot by mail, better banking

Mail-order weed? You betcha!With nationwide marijuana legalization in Canada on the horizon, the industry is...

Koko the gorilla, who learned sign language, dies at 46

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Koko the gorilla, whose remarkable sign-language ability and motherly attachment to...

Cuba slightly loosens controls on state media

HAVANA (AP) — Minutes after a plane carrying 113 people crashed on takeoff from Havana airport, Cuban state...

Pope, in Geneva, says Christians must work together on peace

GENEVA (AP) — Pope Francis journeyed Thursday to the well-heeled city of Geneva to encourage all...

South Sudan's armed opposition rejects 'imposition' of peace

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — South Sudan's armed opposition on Thursday rejected any "imposition" of a...

By Christen McCurdy | The Skanner News

Last fall a small group of organizers decided to put together a Portland arts festival focused specifically on work by people of color. Now that festival is entering its second year.

IntersectFest – a festival of art, self-publishing and do-it-yourself and punk culture, organized by people of color – kicks off Thursday with a dance circle and an inter-tribal art and film festival at Ford Food & Drink in southeast Portland. The festival continues through Sunday with events ranging from a Friday comedy show at Ford Food and Drink, and hip-hip and punk shows. The latter will be headlined by Breathing Light, an all-Black punk band from Chicago who, according to organizer Anna Vo, will be traveling to Portland on Greyhound buses after taking time off from their day jobs for the event.

For more information, including a complete schedule, check out the event's Facebook page

The Skanner News spoke with organizer Anna Vo about the origins of the event and what makes this year different. This interview has been edited for space and clarity.

The Skanner News: Tell me a little bit about how the event came about, how it got started.

Anna Vo: Last year the event was a little bit more specific. It started with the idea that Portland is viewed as a very White-dominated city, even though that’s not demographically true in a lot of neighborhoods. Last year’s event was sort of specifically in the North Albina, North Killingsworth where it’s actually POC-dominated anyway, the neighborhoods. We invited lots of nonprofits and neighborhood organizations to table and come and meet with other people, network with other people. It was a three-day event with workshops and music and lots of awesome stuff. The idea was to remind people that visibility is defined by media and defined by perception. If you consider the narrative of the invisibility of people of color, then people start to believe that even though that’s not quite true.

TSN: You said last year’s event had a more specific focus. What are you doing this year that’s different?

AV: Last year was very radical left, kind of specific politics. This year we wanted to make it more broad and kind of introduce issues of class as well. One of the things to address that was to have two days of events in downtown at P:Ear, where downtown Portland is a specific example of class issues intersecting with race issues, specifically with homelessness. That event is free and open to everybody so the idea is that it’s accessible to houseless folks as well. I think often they get marginalized and excluded from public events. It’s making it geographically different and more central – two days in downtown and two days in southeast, southeast being a very specifically and predominantly White kind of culture.

We opened [the festival] to more local creative groups who wanted to be involved, so traditionally art forms that were popular with persons of color, like spoken word, standup comedy and modern dance. We have events around that, and we have a two-day art exhibition, which we didn’t have last year as well. So it’s just a wider scope of cultural activity.

TSN: Who’s been involved in putting this together?

AV: Just a collection of individuals that said they would be interested in doing this, and organizations. There’s no affiliations with any groups or anything. We did the open call several times to invite whoever wanted to come and help organize.

TSN: Is there anything else that our readers should know in particular about this event?

AV: We want to reiterate that it’s everything that is created and organized is always a collective responsibility and a collective effort. Part of that is just showing up for your friends and showing up as a good ally. There’s lots of performers of color and everyone has their really individual human story and I hope they all get honored and listened to.

TSN: A lot of times in conversations about gentrification, there’s this tendency to put people of color in one category and artists in another category – and the assumption is that artists are White. The assumption that creatives are White leaves a whole lot of people out of the conversation.

AV: I would say that’s inherent in a lot of the whitewashing rhetoric inherent in a lot of media or mass media, especially around gentrification and around making certain things cool and specifically about Portland. That’s what I’m trying to say, is that there is this continual narrative that Portland is White and it’s so cool and creative because it’s White, because of these White neighborhoods. The whole intention of this is to erase that narrative, if possible, because it’s absolute BS. I don’t know how else to put it, really.

This is just a really adamant, clear statement. Not all our performers are POC because we have bands that are predominantly POC but they have a couple of White people in them. But we do have lots of performers of color and they were not difficult to find. When people say stuff like, “I try to find [artists and performers of color], but I couldn’t because everyone’s White here," that’s not true. This is proof of that. We’re trying to be extremely visible and loud about that point.

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