06-23-2018  4:45 am      •     
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 ...

No longer behind a mask, Eugene umpire is being recognized

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — After 31 years behind the plate as an MLB umpire, Dale Scott knows how to recognize a strike.Throwing one is, uh, another matter.When the Los Angeles Dodgers asked Scott to throw a ceremonial first pitch earlier this month, he was honored of course, but also a little...

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...

Evacuation orders lifted in wildfire near Vantage

VANTAGE, Wash. (AP) — Evacuation notices have been lifted for residents in about 30 homes as a wildfire burning in central Washington reaches 50 percent containment.The Yakima Herald-Republic reports fire crews were hoping to fully contain the fire near Vantage and the Columbia River by...

Central Washington suicide rate rises 23 percent

YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) — On June 7, 2016, Kori Haubrich thought she found a solution to the problems that had been gnawing at her for weeks.That Monday, the Sunnyside native sat outside her Bellingham apartment struggling to figure out what she would do after graduating from Western Washington...

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

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...

ENTERTAINMENT

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...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

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,...

First lady's 'don't care' jacket is a gift to memers online

NEW YORK (AP) — I really don't care, do u?Perhaps one day first lady Melania Trump will use her own words...

Justices adopt digital-age privacy rules to track cellphones

WASHINGTON (AP) — Police generally need a warrant to look at records that reveal where cellphone users have...

Popular hashtags take sides on Egypt president's leadership

CAIRO (AP) — Tens of thousands of Egyptians have set social media alight with tweets on opposing hashtags,...

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,...

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...

Artists Eatcho lays down at the Black United Fund of Oregon mural
By Donovan M. Smith | The Skanner News

Not much about the Black United Fund of Oregon’s building on Alberta Street makes it jump out as the powerful civic and economic conduit that it is.

But a new mural, highlighting the contributions of female African-American freedom fighters, may help to change that.

The nearly 25-foot by  100-foot piece pays homage to freedom fighters through the generations,  with  depictions of activists, leaders and artists including Ruby Bridges, Angela Davis, Coretta Scott King, Ruby Dee and Maya Angelou.

To Angelou’s left stands a young girl looking at the dynamic women. She represents the continuation of leadership across time, according to Black United Fund executive director, Kimberlee Sheng, who also oversaw the image’s creative direction. 

“I felt whatever we did [had to be] really significant in terms of this neighborhood, the history of the Black United Fund and just the grit and determination we’ve had to exhibit in order to push through,” Sheng said.

Furthermore, Sheng said, the work of women like those honored in the mural has enabled organizations like 27-year-old nonprofit she heads to continue carrying out its mission as an economic powerhouse stabilizing Black communities in Oregon.

Intersectional creative change agency Vox Siren and social justice art agency Art Uprising helped spearhead the project.

Zoe Piliafas, who founded both organizations, said after passing the Black United Fund building on Christmas Day last year she was inspired to approach the organization to create an artistic project that would honor its history.”

“I think when we think about history, and the history that has not been addressed, women of color have been ignored in public spaces and I think that’s time that that changes,” said Piliafas, who is White. I think it’s moreover a testament to the staying power of the Black United Fund and women’s history.”

Sheng said being in what is now branded an “arts district,” individuals and organizations approach her organization “all the time” with offers to redecorate it. But Vox Siren’s commitment to keeping people of color at the forefront of the project won out.

Artists Eatcho and Jeremy Nichols, both local artists of color—have been responsible for getting the painting wrapped in the next coming weeks.

For Eatcho, a muralist whose work is usually more surrealist in nature, depicting these Black historic figures has been a welcomed shift from his normal work.

While he and Nichols draw toward the finish line, he said it’s worn on him emotionally but physically too.

“When you’re out there working on a mural and it’s 25 feet high to 100 feet across, it’s 100 degrees outside and you’re on a giant scaffold and you’re going back and forth, people just want to talk to you because they see a lot of color and they think a lot of things,” he said. “But really I’m having just as much of a time of work and endurance as it seems. So I’m working, just like a house painter, or a laborer, a construction worker. So when I’m up there I’m not only feeling [emotional], but I’m also having feelings of, ‘Man I’ve got to grab this paint. I’ve got to make sure my water’s up there, I’ve got to move my body, I’ve got to keep focused so I don’t fall off this two floor scaffold and die.’”

As the Alberta area, and the neighborhoods continue to gentrify, Piliafas said monuments like these become pertinent for both residents both new and old.

“Portland and the state of Oregon has a racist past, and we don’t recognize that, [but] there are many of us in the city now that are deciding that we can collectively do better,” she said.

The new mural echoes the Albina Mural Project – a 1978 mural project with a similar focus. The murals were removed five years after completion, reportedly due to water damage.

In five separate large-sized paintings, seven artists of color documented key transitional points in the African-American experience: the transatlantic slave trade, the migration of Black pioneers to the Northwest in the late 1800s, the following influx of African-Americans to the area in the late 1940s during World War II, the devastating Vanport flood of 1948 – and, finally, the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

 Part of a Portland State documentary about the mural project is now on YouTube. In the video, painter Isaka Shamsud-Din tells the crowd during an unveiling, “I think we ought to bear in mind that we haven’t had many things of this size to happen in this community that have come all the way up from the community.”

Now once again, in a vastly different neighborhood, artists of a different generation are preparing to put their stamp on Black history once more.

“There are few community-serving organizations that are still located in this area. I think that it is significant and it does speak to the history of this neighborhood, but I think that there’s just broader implications for illustrating that we were once here in significant numbers and this was a thriving community when we were here,” Sheng said.

“And while the community may look different today, we’re still here. And we still have a place here. And there’s still a need for our work here.”

 

 

 

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