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By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 14 April 2011

African Americans from around the state will gather at the Capitol in Salem for a Legislative Action Day April 19. 

Co-sponsored by The Urban League of Portland, Our Voices United, and the Oregon Commission on Black Affairs, who together are transporting more than one hundred participants -- including high school students, community members, organizations and seniors -- to discuss with legislators the Urban League's legislative priorities and concerns of the African American community.

The overall focus of the event, organizers says, is to promote access for African Americans to family wage jobs, greater educational achievement, health and wellness, stable homes and income, and culturally proficient services.

As the Oregon Legislature decides how to bridge a $3.5 billion budget gap, participants expect to advocate for retaining programs and services that benefit the most vulnerable populations in the State.

"African Americans make significant contributions to Oregon's economy, culture and prosperity," Marcus C. Mundy, Urban League president and CEO said. "Yet, we face extraordinary challenges and inequities in employment, health care, education, economic opportunity, housing and in the criminal justice and child welfare systems.

"The Oregon State Legislature is making policy and budget decisions that impact our lives, families and communities and its time our voices were heard."

The official Urban League of Portland agenda includes:

--Racial Equity in Health: ensuring that health care providers are culturally competent, and that the new Oregon Health Insurance Exchange has a strong commitment to language access, staff diversity, and culturally competent health care.

--Racial Justice in Criminal Justice and Child Welfare: reducing the over-representation of African Americans in the criminal justice and child welfare systems through Racial Impact Statements; expansion of Project Clean Slate to help ex-offenders back into the job market.

--Workforce Diversity and Equal Pay: expansion of wage and hour protections to help tackle poverty and low pay; and jobs and contracts for minorities on federally funded construction projects.

--Fairness in State Budget Cuts: opposition to cuts disproportionately impacting services to the African American community.

The Urban League's Our Voices United Legislative Action day is supported by more than 40 organizations. The day will feature presentations from the Governor's Director of Diversity & Inclusion, Frank Garcia, Reps. Lew Frederick and Jefferson Smith, BOLI Commissioner Brad Avakian, Sens. Jackie Winters and Rod Monroe, and more.

For more information go to www.ulpdx.org or call 503-280-2600.


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