In a coalition led by IPAC (Interfaith Peace & Action Collaborative), numerous groups are joining together on September 21, the International Day of Peace, to announce the Portland Peace Initiative (PPI). Using "micro-community listening sessions” in as many of the individual neighborhoods and stakeholder groups in Portland as possible, PPI will seek to conduct small, granular, organized, grassroots virtual sessions or in-person conversations with community members and stakeholder groups using listening sessions and surveys. The purpose will be to develop a practical, lasting framework for inclusive community engagement that reimagines public safety in Portland, paying particular attention to communities of color and other historically underrepresented groups. The entire initiative is expected to last several months.
PPI is the creation of recognized problem-solvers from all backgrounds who seek to unite and elevate as many local efforts of individuals, groups and organizations that want to participate in building bridges of understanding and healing in Portland. Leading the initiative are Pastor Matt Hennessee, Robert King, Kevin Modica, Deniel Banks and Lisa Broderick of Police2Peace.
"What a perfect day to reset our goals for healing in the community,” said Pastor J.W. Matt Hennessee of the Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church.
“Our goal is to go beyond merely addressing the problems at hand and invest in long-term solutions to heal our community.
"PPI is a great step toward that goal,” noted Hennessee.
Added Nike Greene, Director of the Office of Violence Prevention, “More than ever we need to deeply examine how we can bring peace to the community, after everything that we have seen and experienced.
"Strong people stand up for others and with others.
"Take a big gulp of hope as we lean in harder. We are called to action. We are resilient and solution focused. And, we’re taking the first step in this journey by partnering with IPAC and this coalition to help reduce the violence on the streets of Portland and bring about lasting peace and better public safety.”
Professional moderators will oversee the first conversations, with training to be conducted in the future so that local community members may serve as moderators.
The first of these conversations is scheduled to take place this month on the dedicated virtual platform developed for PPI: https://myjunto.app/home/junto/portland-2-peace.