05-23-2018  5:21 pm      •     
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Mississippi Avenue Giving Tuesday

On Tuesday, May 22, 10 percent of proceeds from participating Mississippi Ave. businesses will go to SEI ...

Raina Croff to Speak at Architectural Heritage Center

'When the Landmarks are Gone: Older African Americans, Place, and Change in N/NE Portland’ describes SHARP Walking Program ...

Portland Playhouse Presents August Wilson’s ‘Fences’ Through June 10

May 20 performance will include discussion on mental health; June 10 performance will be followed by discussion of fatherhood ...

Peggy Houston-Shivers Presents Benefit Concert for Allen Temple CME

Concert to take place May 20 at Maranatha Church ...

Lawmakers hold hearing to discuss Oregon dairy's downfall

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon lawmakers are asking questions about what went wrong with a large dairy that is facing a lawsuit, regulatory problems and bankruptcy in an effort to find ways to prevent a similar situation in the future.The Senate Interim Committee on Environment and Natural...

Editorials from around Oregon

Selected editorials from Oregon newspapers:_____The Oregonian/OregonLive, May 23, on rebuilding faith in police oversight board:Derek Ashton, an attorney representing former Portland Police Chief Larry O'Dea, didn't mince words in criticizing a committee's recommendation that O'Dea lose his police...

Amazon, Starbucks pledge money to repeal Seattle head tax

SEATTLE (AP) — Amazon, Starbucks, Vulcan and other companies have pledged a total of more than 0,000 toward an effort to repeal Seattle's newly passed tax on large employers intended to combat homelessness.Just days after the Seattle City Council approved the levy, the No Tax On Jobs...

14 vehicles destroyed in central Washington brush fire

SELAH, Wash. (AP) — Authorities say 14 vehicles were destroyed in a brush fire in central Washington.The Yakima Herald-Republic reports the fire scorched about a half square mile near Selah on Tuesday.Selah Deputy Fire Chief Jim Lange says the fire threatened multiple homes and burned up to...


Racism After Graduation May Just Be What's on the Menu

Dr. Julianne Malveaux says that for our young millennials, racism is inevitable ...

Prime Minister Netanyahu Shows Limits of Israel’s Democracy

Bill Fletcher, Jr. on racial politics in Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s uneven treatment of African immigrants ...

Golfing While Black Is Not a Crime

Grandview Golf Club asks five Black women to leave for golfing too slow ...

Discovering the Best of Black America in 2018

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis discusses the DTU Journalism Fellowship & Scholarship Program ...


The Latest: Milwaukee NAACP head: No reason to use stun gun

MILWAUKEE (AP) — The Latest on Milwaukee police releasing body-camera footage showing the arrest of Bucks guard Sterling Brown (all times local):7:05 p.m.The president of the NAACP in Milwaukee says he doesn't see anything in a newly released police body-camera video that would warrant...

Milwaukee chief apologizes for arrest of Bucks guard Brown

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales apologized to Bucks guard Sterling Brown on Wednesday for a January arrest that started with a parking violation and escalated to include use of a stun gun, and said some officers had been disciplined.Brown responded with a statement...

Offshore worker alleges bias in federal lawsuit

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — An African-American offshore oil worker has filed a federal lawsuit saying he was intimidated on the job by a supervisor who drew a picture of him dangling from a high rig structure while surrounded by co-workers in Ku Klux Klan hats.The lawsuit claims the worker was...


Deadliest Catch' star pleads guilty to misdemeanor assault

SEATTLE (AP) — Celebrity crab-boat captain Sig Hansen has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge that he spat on an Uber driver last year in Seattle.The Seattle Times reports (https://bit.ly/2s3scWE) the 52-year-old "Deadliest Catch" star pleaded guilty Wednesday.Under the plea deal, a...

Lawyer: Harvey Weinstein targeted by federal prosecutors

WASHINGTON (AP) — Harvey Weinstein's lawyer said in a court filing that federal prosecutors in New York have launched a criminal investigation into the film producer, in addition to a previously disclosed probe by the Manhattan District Attorney.Attorney Benjamin Brafman said in a...

Comedian Josh Denny not sorry about N-word tweets

NEW YORK (AP) — Comedian and Food Network host Josh Denny has called his tweets using the N-word and comparing use of "straight white male" to the racial slur as "very incendiary," but he said he's not sorry.The host of "Ginormous Food" appeared on Van Lathan's podcast "The Red Pill" on...


Pompeo: Fate of US-NKorea summit rests with Kim Jong Un

WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday he's "very hopeful" that a planned...

Teacher's win in Kentucky points to November potential

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Teachers across the country have left their classrooms this spring to protest at...

AP source: Jared Kushner granted security clearance

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has been granted a security clearance...

French government orders evacuation of Paris migrant camps

PARIS (AP) — Police are preparing to dismantle makeshift camps holding close to 2,500 migrants in the...

2 patients who fled Ebola ward among the dead in Congo

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — Two infected patients who fled from an Ebola treatment center in a Congo city of 1.2...

Summits give aged North Korean spies hope of returning home

GWANGJU, South Korea (AP) — He's spent nearly six decades trapped on enemy soil, surviving 29 years in a...

Women of Color in Tech (Stock image)
Melanie Sevcenko

In the spirit of disrupting the status quo of “politics as usual,” the organization Color PAC has joined forces with Progressive Majority Washington to jumpstart a new initiative for transformational politics.

And the timing couldn’t be better. In the Trump era of rising White nationalism and politics guided by big money, Amplify is setting a defiant example in the Northwest region.

The organization works by recruiting, training and electing into public office candidates from underrepresented communities, like people of color, women and LGBTQ individuals. Because, says Amplify, all people should have equal access to lead, not just those with wealth and privilege.

“Amplify has definitely been an answer to a lack of demographic representation,” said its Portland-based deputy director, Mario Parker-Milligan. “But it also (signifies) a need to have individuals who are not beholden to corporations or outside influence, which can sway their ability to make decisions that positively impact their communities.”

With reach in both Oregon and Washington, Amplify hopes to challenge policies that do little to serve marginalized communities.

 “We have recognized that on a national, state and local level, we have decision-makers in office that have not been reflective of the communities they are representing,” continued Parker-Milligan.

And underrepresentation, says the Coalition of Communities of Color, is at the heart of inequity.

"Right now, we have an out-of-balance system that is full of barriers preventing people – particularly people of color and women – from running for office or even having their voices heard in our government,” said its advocacy director, Amanda Manjarrez. “To find better solutions that lead to more equitable outcomes, we need leaders who listen to the community and who really understand the challenges that ordinary families are facing on a daily-basis.”

While Oregon’s 2017 legislative session has more members who are people of color – nine – than any time in history, 81 are still White.

Locally, the situation is direr. “Just look at who represents us in the City of Portland,” said Manjarrez. “One in three people in Portland are from communities of color, yet we've only ever had two people of color serve on City Council.” Since its founding, the council has only seen eight elected women.

To challenge that, Amplify partners with community-based networks to identify leaders whose credibility is two-fold: the potential to win and the ability to pass policies or legislation that works for their communities.

Potential candidates come to Amplify from several avenues; some surface through its free training days in Woodburn, Portland, and Gresham, while others are recommended through organizations. Roughly 65 percent of participants enter the program with a background in politics.

All individuals undergo an in-take process, during which they’re assessed on their leading issues and their reasons for wanting to run. Amplify then works to identity opportunity in the candidate’s district, and whether or not they have the ability to be an effective and successful legislator.

While Amplify’s candidates are not solely selected on their political parties, their agendas must put social justice, representation and equity at the forefront.

Once accepted, participants will enter a vetting process, which includes identifying an office, board or commission seat, training and one-on-one coaching, connecting with campaign managers, and sometimes taking up volunteer positions to garner local recognition.

“With some folks, that process is easier because they have a lot of experience and local prow,” said Parker-Milligan. “For some it takes more time. If they need more development then Amplify puts them on a longer track to prepare them to run.”

With around a dozen people in Washington tying up their politico bootstraps, Parker-Milligan said he is currently working with similar numbers in the Portland metro area. 

Some, like Jamila Singleton Munson, have already announced their candidacy.

As an educator with 15 years of experience in both public and charter schools, Munson is training with Amplify and currently running for the board of Portland Public Schools.

“Amplify started by developing a relationship and getting to know my interests, establishing on-going consultation, and inviting me to different events where I could learn from other leaders who were taking office,” Munson said. “As a person of color who grew up in Portland, there are very few people who share the background that I do who sit in elected office, and none who are Black on the public school board.”

Munson said she attributes the organization’s wide-reaching network to her numerous endorsements, among them former Portland mayor Sam Adams, PPS school board member Pam Knowles, and Hanif Fazal, CEO of the Center for Equity & Inclusion.

“Even though I may have worked in the realm of education, being an elected official has a different responsibility,” she said. “So it’s helped me with both running a campaign, and what it means to actually sit in office.”

For Amplify, the end game is to cast a wider net of diverse governance.

“Our goal in the first couple of years is to focus locally and build a bench of progressive champions,” said Parker-Milligan. “But eventually they can build a pipeline to run for state and even federal office.” 


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